The battle of the Gs continues, with the courtroom case between Gucci and Guess taking an unexpectedly pro-Guess turn today.
As we reported last month, Gucci is suing Guess for $221 million in trademark infringement damages. The luxury brand claims that Guess has been featuring details commonly found in Gucci products (think tri-coloured stripes, a square “G” and the brand name printed in similar flowing script) resulting in over $200 million in loss.
Marc Fisher, CEO of Guess licensee Marc Fisher Footwear, explained (WWD reports it as weepily!) in defense: “the number of shoes Gucci claims infringed on its intellectual property rights represent just three percent of all shoes Marc Fisher Footwear made in a four-year period […].” Moreover, Bonnie Smith, a former shoe designer and current FIDM part-time instructor who was brought in on Guess’s behest, denied similarities between the two brands and confirmed that “yes, we ‘copy,’ we duplicate, we fool around with [original versions]. … It’s all because a retailer wants it. … [But] it’s really hard to make shoes identical, and I don’t think anyone really tries to do that.”
Things got ugly for Guess when Gucci’s lawyer revealed a document showing that Fisher has bought $75,000 in Gucci merch over the past six years. You’d think Fisher would have been tongue-tied over the evidence but instead he had no trouble admitting it because he claims the products were purchased to use as “inspiration,” but that they have photos of many other brands, which they use as “references” for their own designs.
Guess and co. regained their footing, however, when Darren Saunders, Marc Fisher Footwear’s attorney, showed Smith samples of a Vans shoe, an Adidas sneaker and a Sperry Top-Sider shoe —which all, as it turned out, were created by Gucci. Now who’s zooming who?
Fashionista: “[…] unfortunately the evidence does not stack up in Fisher’s favor.” [Fashionista]
Styleite: “Just when we thought Gucci‘s copyright infringement lawsuit against Guess was over, there’s a twist.” [Styleite]
Caitlin Agnew, assistant editor/research: “There’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation.”