In what appears to be the third phase of an on-going litigation between the well-known Italian Fashion Brand “Gucci” and American Fashion Brand “Guess”, Gucci faced a second time defeat, this time before the Court of France which ruled in favour of Guess stating that the American brand is not guilty of any infringement of the rights of Gucci in its registered trademarks. The Court dismissed Gucci’s claim for damages and in turn ordered it to pay an amount of USD 34,000 as compensation to Guess.
The first phase of the battle was in the year 2012, the Court of New York ruled in favour of Gucci holding that Guess was guilty of infringement of Gucci’s rights in 4 out of 5 well-known trademarks (the green and red strips pattern, the repetitive GG pattern, the diamond motif trade dress, the stylized G design mark and the script Gucci design mark). The Court ordered Guess to pay damages to the tune of USD 4.7 million to Gucci as compared to USD 124 million as claimed by Gucci in the law suit. The reason behind the massive reduction in the amount of damages was two-fold as deciphered by the Court, firstly, the case being filed only in the year 2009 was stricken with delay, latches and acquiescence as Gucci was aware of Guess’s designs which were introduced in the year 1995. Secondly, Guess was not guilty of counterfeiting Gucci’s logos but only diluting them as “courts have uniformly restricted trademark counterfeiting claims to those situations where entire products have been copied stitch-for-stitch.”, as quoted by the Judge.
The second phase of the litigation between the brands was in the Court of Italy where Guess filed a legal action for challenging the validity of 3 Gucci trademarks in Milan. The Court passed the decision in favour of Guess and cancelled the disputed trademarks which were the Diamond pattern, Flora pattern and the G logo. The appeal against the decision of the Court of Italy was filed by Gucci which was further ruled in its favour.
Having undergone grisly litigation for over 6 years, Gucci has faced a serious loss of revenue, time as well as rights in certain trademarks in the jurisdiction of Italy and France. There are grim chances of settlement between the two brands and this case ensures another chapter in the famous litigation battle.