New York—A U.S. District Court judge ruled Monday that Guess? Inc. infringed upon Gucci’s trademark and awarded the Italian luxurygoods brand $4.66 million in damages.
While Gucci America Inc. sought more than $100 million in damages due to Guess’ allegedly trying to “Gucci-ize” its handbags, small leathergoods, footwear and belts with designs and colorations that mimicked Gucci, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York only ordered damages of $2.5 million against Guess and its handbag and belt licensee and around $2 million against its footwear licensee, Marc Fisher Footwear.
In a 104-page decision, Judge Shira Scheindlin awarded Gucci a permanent injunction against Guess’ for use of three of four challenged designs. Gucci had charged that Guess infringed upon four of its designs: green-red-green stripes, a stylized “Square G,” a group of four interlocking “G”s known as a “Quattro G,” and a script logo. All but the last of these are covered by the injunction.
Judge: ‘Limit Ugliness’ to Runway, Shopping Floor
While Judge Schedindlin agreed that Guess infringed on some of Gucci’s trademarks, she didn’t agree that Gucci, a division of luxurygoods giant PPR, was entitled to hundreds of millions in damages. In fact, she called the damage analysis from Gucci’s expert “highly speculative” with regard to the lost sales or damages to the Gucci brand.
Furthermore, Judge Scheindlin took both companies to task over the back and forth during the lawsuit.
”Over the past three years, the parties have put in countless hours and spent untold sums of money, all in the service of fashion–what Oscar Wilde aptly called ‘a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,’” Judge Scheindlin said.
“With the instant disputes now resolved, and with Gucci’s entitlement to the relief noted above, it is my hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather than spilling over into the courts.”
Although attorneys for the parties haven’t commented on the judge’s decision yet, Paul Marciano, ceo at Guess, fired off a statement saying, “In my opinion, the results in this case show that Gucci grossly overreached in its claims and the entire case could have been avoided with a single letter or phone call. Gucci has also tried to attack Guess in other jurisdictions, but Guess will vigorously defend its rights in all of these cases and is confident that its position will be vindicated.”