.Guess the difference: the Gucci vs. Guess sneaker. PHOTO: Guess, Gucci
Gucci versus Guess: Paul Marciano of Guess defends infringement allegations
Marciano, founder and CEO of Guess, took to the stand to defend the $221million lawsuit brought forward by Italian luxury label Gucci.
They say there’s two sides to every story, and in New York yesterday, Guess chief executive Paul Marciano took to the stand to defend the multi-million dollar lawsuit issued against his label by luxury heavyweight Gucci.
WWD have documented the courtroom battle, which stems from Gucci claiming that Guess and its footwear licensing company, Marc Fisher Footwear, devised a “massive scheme” to copy Gucci’s trademarks including the classic square ‘G’, the diamond-shaped repeating pattern with interlocking G’s, the designer’s name in its script font, and the green and red stripe design.
Mr Marciano denies the claims and stated that his brand took “inspiration” from many other labels – not just Gucci.
“This kind of pattern is common in the world of fashion and it’s not particular to Gucci,” he said, referring to a Guess handbag with a diamond-logoed “G” pattern brandished by Gucci’s legal counsel. “What I understand here, which is very frequent [in fashion], is an inspiration to create an original bag of G’s with the same components. That’s what design is.
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However Gucci’s legal counsel were armed with e-mails dating from 1995 to 2008 inwhich Marc Fisher Footwear discussed sending Gucci fabric samples to Guess’ fabric supplier, so that they could replicate the colouring for its logo motif for shoes.
Marciano’s response? He claimed he had no knowledge of these conversations, but admitted he was “embarrassed” when he saw Guess’s Mette and Melrose sneakers, which feature “G” logos and stripes. Said trainers were pulled from the market in November 2008, but Gucci’s legal team pointed out that the style could be found deeply discounted thereafter.
Strong words were also exchanged, with Gucci stating: “The truth is that Guess has been knocking off Gucci for years.”
Marciano’s comeback consisted of: “No…fashion is about trend, mood and inspiration. You interpret your own way with your own brand.”
Marciano also asserted that he was “not happy” about the lawsuit, saying it was “wrong”.
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He explained how Gucci had no conflict with Guess until 2007, when it sent a cease-and-desist for the use of items with a green-red-green stripe accompanied by diamond “G” logos (repeating how said products have been removed from the market).
“I truly believe that if this is something Gucci was genuinely concerned with, they would have acted within days, everywhere,” Marciano said. “Are you telling me today that suddenly you realize what’s happened in 1995?”