Consumers in Texas might not realize the legal difficulties that sometimes flare up among their favorite fashion brands. For example, luxury brand Gucci has been battling Guess for nine years in multiple countries. Gucci alleged that the diamond pattern logo for Guess represented a direct copy of its trademark. After litigating the issue around the world, the companies announced that they have settled their disagreements concerning intellectual property.
The companies did not share the terms of the settlement, but pending court cases in China, France, Australia and Italy have been concluded. The claims of infringement started in 2009 when Gucci sued Guess within the United States. The luxury brand's suit argued that Guess had counterfeited its products to gain an unfair advantage through trademark infringement. The interlocking Gs on a style of Guess shoes formed the heart of the case because Gucci said it confused consumers about the brand of the product. This allegedly caused financial harm to Gucci.
Gucci sought damages of $221 million, but a U.S. district court judge awarded the company only $4.7 million in damages. Gucci then pressed its grievances on the international level and sued Guess in Australia, China, France and Italy. Decisions were split. French and Italian courts sided with Guess, and the Chinese and Australian courts made favorable rulings for Gucci.
Intellectual property disputes sometimes require a company to seek legal advice. An attorney familiar with business litigation may provide information about the strength of a business's position on matters such as trademark infringement or licensing disputes. Legal representation might help a business navigate the laws in different jurisdictions and prepare strategies for combating infringement of intellectual property.
Source: Business of Fashion, "Gucci and Guess End Nine-Year Trademark Dispute", April 19, 208