* Gucci charged Guess mimicked designs, confusing shoppers
* Guess said to try to "Gucci-ize" its products
* Judge lets Gucci pursue most claims
By Jonathan Stempel
Feb 14 Gucci can go forward with a lawsuit
accusing apparel retailer Guess Inc of selling knockoff
products without its permission, a U.S. judge ruled.
The Italian luxury goods company had accused Guess in May
2009 of trying to "Gucci-ize" its product line by selling
wallets, belts, shoes and other items whose designs copied or
mimicked the Italian company's designs.
Founded in 1921 and now owned by Paris-based PPR SA
, Gucci is one of many luxury goods companies to sue
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Tuesday
said Gucci may pursue claims over Guess' alleged infringement of
four designs: green-red-green stripes, a script logo, a stylized
"Square G," and a group of four interlocking "G"s known as a
She said one could reasonably infer that Guess acted in bad
faith by developing designs that might cause confusion, and that
Gucci had produced evidence that the Quattro G design did
generate "actual confusion" among shoppers.
The judge dismissed two Gucci claims alleging trademark
dilution over the Square G and Quattro G designs, citing a lack
Robert Welsh, a lawyer for Guess, did not immediately
respond to a request for comment. Guess had argued that it did
not engage in "willful deceit," and that its product sales did
not confuse shoppers or tarnish Gucci's reputation.
Louis Ederer, a lawyer for Gucci, declined to comment.
According to the judge's opinion, Gucci said it was entitled
to $26 million of damages from Guess and other defendants, a sum
representing a "reasonable royalty" as calculated by its damages
The expert also estimated that profits from the alleged
infringements by the defendants totaled more than $98 million.
In afternoon trading, Guess shares were up 11 cents at
$34.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The case is Gucci America Inc v. Guess? Inc et al, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-04373.