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Men'sWeek issue 04/16/2015

Georges Marciano has filed his second lawsuit against Guess Inc. in as many months.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal, seeks the cessation of production and the destruction of counterfeit goods that use the “Guess by Georges Marciano” name.

Georges Marciano sold his shares of Guess to his brothers — including its current chief executive officer Paul Marciano and non-executive chairman Maurice Marciano — in 1993 and two years later agreed to separation terms spelling out his rights to his name.

In addition to the destruction of counterfeit product, the suit seeks 21 million Canadian dollars, or $16.7 million at current exchange, in damages for what the plaintiff described as “the defendants’ parasitic and unfair competition practices.”

Georges Marciano filed suit in the same court last month alleging that his role in the founding of Guess had been excluded from corporate documents and records and that Guess had prevented him from earning a living by contesting his application for the Canadian trademark to Royal Navy by Georges Marciano. He also asked the court to rule on the validity of three other trademarks for which he had applied — Georges Marciano Ranch, Georges Marciano and Georges Marciano by Georges Marciano.

Guess had claimed that the trademarks could cause confusion among consumers. The plaintiffs, however, cited the separation agreement as granting Georges Marciano the right to use his full name, although not his surname alone, in “any way he wishes in retail and manufacturing” after Aug. 23, 1995.

In responding to the latest lawsuit, Paul Marciano repeated his reaction to the one filed in March. “The case is meritless,” he said.

In the earlier action, Georges Marciano said he founded Guess in 1980 and was joined by his brothers the following year.

Attorneys for Lecours, Hébert Lawyers Inc., Georges Marciano’s law firm, didn’t respond to requests for comment on why Guess would be held accountable for actions by counterfeiters.

The lawyers noted that cosmetics products for men and women bearing the “Guess by Georges Marciano” mark were purchased from “an online boutique.”

Revlon Inc. was named as a third party in the suit because of knowledge it might have about the use of “Guess by Georges Marciano” label. The rights to Guess beauty products are held by Coty Inc.

In responding to the latest lawsuit, Paul Marciano repeated his reaction to the one filed in March. “The case is meritless,” he said.