Bloomberg News

Gucci Infringement Trial Against Guess? Set for March 26

March 13, 2012

Gucci America Inc. (GES), the maker of luxury clothing and accessories, will try to convince a federal judge this month that Guess? Inc. (GES)’s products infringe Gucci trademarked designs.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said at a hearing in Manhattan today that she will conduct a trial without a jury beginning March 26. Lawyers involved in the case said the trial will last at least two weeks.

Gucci, a unit of Paris-based PPR (PP), sued Guess in 2009, accusing it of selling apparel and accessories in stores and online with logos that are “studied imitations of the Gucci trademarks.” The trademarks include a green- and red-stripe design and a diamond pattern with repeating interlocking G’s.

“In many instances, defendants have replicated entire Gucci product designs,” the company said in its complaint. It sought an injunction preventing Guess from selling any products with those designs.

Guess said in court papers that Gucci has no right to claim infringement because the trademarks in question are merely functional features of product logos. Guess also argued in court filings that Gucci “sat on its rights” for at least seven years before filing the lawsuit and that Gucci’s surveys failed to prove consumers would be confused by the designs.

‘Post-Sale Confusion’

“Gucci has no evidence showing the Guess designs at issue are likely to cause post-sale confusion,” Guess said in a filing in December.

Guess, based in Los Angeles, had asked the judge to dismiss Gucci’s claims without a trial. Scheindlin denied Guess’s request in February.

Gucci is seeking monetary damages and other assessments totaling more than $124 million, according to court papers.

The defendants also include Marc Fisher Footwear, the Max Leather Group and Swank Inc.

The case is Gucci America v. Guess Inc., 09-4373, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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