Guess CEO Insists They're Not Gucci Guilty in Court
Apr 05, 2012 - by Lester Brathwaite
Paul Marciano, CEO of Guess, took to the stand Wednesday where he endured over four hours of questioning from Gucci's legal counsel over the two G's trademark infringement battle.
Gucci claims Guess and its footwear licensee Marc Fisher Footwear has been knocking off its logo and designs for years and is seeking $221 million in damages. Louis Ederer, lawyer for the Italian luxury giant, barraged Marciano with questions and referenced emails dating back to 1995 between Guess buyers and Marc Fisher employees. He also brought up a history of cease and desist letters from Coach, Yves Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo and Adidas claiming Marc Fisher was knocking off their designs.
Through it all Marciano insisted that Guess simply took inspiration from different brands, including Gucci, for its logos, patterns and designs. When Ederer brought up emails from Marc Fisher indicating that the company was sending Gucci fabric samples to Guess fabric suppliers, Marciano claimed he had no knowledge of the correspondence. However, upon seeing the similarities between Guess and Gucci sneakers, he was "embarrassed."
Ederer blasted Guess for not following up with Marc Fisher about the shoes saying, The truth is that Guess has been knocking off Gucci for years. To which Marciano responded, Nofashion is about trend, mood and inspiration. You interpret your own way with your own brand.
To illustrate his point, Marciano referenced the courtroom's carpeting and claimed that his design team would reinterpret it and throw it on a handbag, to some mild courtroom chuckling.
After Ederer finished badgering the witness, Guess' lawyer Daniel Petrocelli took over, asking Marciano to describe the company's relationship with Gucci. Marciano insisted they never had any problems till a cease and desist letter in 2007 and that "if this is something Gucci was genuinely concerned with, they would have acted within days, everywhere," instead of twiddling their thumbs since 1995. [WWD, sub req'd]