A US judge said Gucci may recover just $4.66m in its lawsuit
accusing apparel retailer Guess of copying its trademarked designs, a small
fraction of the more than $120m sought by the Italian luxury goods company.
US District Judge Shira Scheindlin said that while Guess
infringed some trademarks, Gucci was not entitled to damages reflecting lost
sales or harm to its brand, calling an analysis from its damages expert
She also awarded Gucci, a unit of Paris-based PPR, a
permanent injunction against Guess' use of three of the four challenged
designs. The payout reflects profit from specific items where Gucci trademarks
Gucci had accused Guess of trying to "Gucci-ise"
its product line by selling wallets, belts, shoes and other items whose designs
copied or mimicked its own. It claimed that this confused customers and diluted
Louis Ederer, a lawyer for Gucci, did not respond
immediately to a request for comment.
Paul Marciano, CEO of Guess, said in a statement the
judgment showed Gucci had "overreached" and "misled the court
with a number of facts that were unsupported by the evidence".
"Overall, we are extremely satisfied and vindicated
that this case should have never been filed," Marciano said.
A lawyer for co-defendant Marc Fisher Footwear, which the
judge held responsible for some of the payout, did not respond immediately to a
request for comment.
Gucci had challenged Guess' alleged infringement of four
designs: green-red-green stripes, a stylised "Square G", a group of
four interlocking "G"s known as a "Quattro G", and a script
logo. All but the last of these are covered by the injunction.
Gucci, founded in 1921, is one of many luxury goods
companies to sue alleged copycats.
Scheindlin last month oversaw a three-week, non-jury trial
in the case, resulting in Monday's 104-page opinion.
"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'," she wrote.
In the wake of her decision, Scheindlin said: "It is my
hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather
than spilling over into the courts."