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Gucci Loses Its 4 Year Legal Battle Against Guess In Italy And Also Loses 7 Trademark Registrations In Europe

Stocks in this article: GES





LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The second chapter of the trademark dispute between Gucci and GUESS (NYSE: GES) concluded in Italy on May 2nd, 2013 after the Court of Milan, in an 83 page ruling, rejected all claims brought by the Florentine-based label against GUESS. Moreover, the Italian Court has ordered the cancellation of certain of Gucci's diamond pattern, G logo, and "Flora" pattern trademarks. The cancelled registrations included 3 Italian trademarks and 4 trademarks covering the European Community. The Court has also rejected Gucci's rights in a "Square G" logo.

In 2009, along with a similar action in New York, Gucci filed suit against GUESS in Milan, the fashion capital of Europe. Subsequent actions were filed in Paris and Nanjing, China. The logos in the Milan dispute were similar to those in New York as were the claims, which included trademark infringement, counterfeiting and unfair competition. The New York case ended in 2012, with Gucci receiving minimal monetary damages and narrow injunctions on a handful of logos. Now, the Court in Milan has totally rejected all of Gucci's claims.

The Milan verdict is an important decision and judgment, not only because it has been issued in Italy, the birthplace of the Gucci brand, but also because the Court agreed with GUESS in practically all its principal arguments, ruling that the diamond pattern and floral motifs are common in the world of fashion and, in particular, that the popular GUESS Quattro G logo pattern (also with a single G in the corner of the diamond) has "nothing to do" with Gucci's interlocking double G pattern, one of the principal claims made by Gucci.

The judgment also confirmed one of the key pillars of the GUESS defense, previously expressed in the New York trial, that there is no foundation to Gucci's accusation that GUESS was trying to "Gucci-ize" its brand or attempting to confuse customers and dilute the Gucci brand.

Paul Marciano expressed his total satisfaction with the decision, which vindicates the GUESS position and reconfirms his belief that Gucci grossly overreached in its claims. "The Italian Court in Milan ruled today against each and every single claim that Gucci filed against Guess 4 years ago. In the same ruling the Court invalidated some of Gucci's trademark registrations, including the floral print and diamond G logos. GUESS intends to continue to vigorously defend its trademark rights," said Paul Marciano, CEO of GUESS. He continued, "The tactics of Gucci are nothing less than bullying. Because of their endless resources, Gucci has been forum shopping all over the world to try and stop GUESS from expanding its successful accessories business. It's fundamentally wrong and unconscionable. There are global trends that Gucci itself follows as anyone does in fashion; they are no different from GUESS in that regard." Mr. Marciano added, "In my opinion, the 3 year battle in New York and 4 years in Milan was a result of massive and unnecessary litigation that should have been easily resolved with a simple phone call, which Gucci never made."

The Italian Court, reiterating "the remarkable notoriety of the GUESS trademarks," has definitively rejected the possibility that any likelihood of confusion could exist, even hypothetically, between the products and the trademarks of Gucci and those of GUESS.

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