Gucci won a legal victory against Guess on Monday when a federal judge in Manhattan determined that Guess had infringed on some of the fashion house’s trademarks.
Judge Shira Scheindlin granted Gucci an injunction against Guess’s use of three out of the four design motifs challenged in the lawsuit, but the amount she awarded in damages made for a less resounding ruling than the designer brand might have hoped
Scheindlin awarded Gucci $4.7m in combined damages, falling far short of the $221m Gucci hoped to obtain because she found analysis from Gucci’s damages expert ‘highly speculative.’
‘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”,’ Scheindlin wrote in her 104-page opinion.
‘[I]t is my hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather than spilling over into the courts.’
Gucci accused Guess of copying house motifs and confusing customers, specifically challenging Guess’s use of four designs: a green and red stripe, a square G, a print of interlocking Gs and the brand name printed in ‘flowing script’. The injunction covers all but the latter design.
Guess CEO Paul Marciano said that the judgment suggested Gucci had ‘overreached’ in its litigation. ‘Overall, we are extremely satisfied and vindicated that this case should have never been filed,’ he said.
The case may have implications for another ongoing suit challenging the limits of trademark law. Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent, a Gucci stablemate, are awaiting a ruling over the right to use red soles on shoes.