Trademark is a huge deal, especially for fashion houses who are desperate to hold onto their originality in terms of color, logo and design. First we saw the Louboutin vs YSL debacle, and now a judge ruled that Gucci can move forward with a lawsuit accusing Guess Inc of selling knockoff products without their permission.
The Italian luxury brand had accused Guess in May 2009 of trying to "Gucci-ize" its product like by copying Gucci's designs for their wallets, belts, shoes and other items. According to Reuters:
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Tuesday said Gucci may pursue claims over Guess' alleged infringement of four designs: green-red-green stripes, a script logo, a stylized "Square G," and a group of four interlocking "G"s known as a "Quattro G."
She said one could reasonably infer that Guess acted in bad faith by developing designs that might cause confusion, and that Gucci had produced evidence that the Quattro G design did generate "actual confusion" among shoppers.
The judge dismissed two Gucci claims alleging trademark dilution over the Square G and Quattro G designs, citing a lack of evidence.
Guess has argued that it did not engage in "willful deceit." and that its product sales did not confuse shoppers or tarnish Gucci's reputation.
According to the judge, Gucci said it was entitled to $26 million of damages from Guess and other defendants, a sum representing a "reasonable royalty" as calculated by its damages expert.
The expert also estimated that profits from the alleged infringements by the defendants totaled more than $98 million.
In afternoon trading, Guess shares were up 11 cents at $34.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Do you think customers are confused between Gucci and Guess's logos and designs?