Edited by Lester Brathwaite on
While far from the trial of the century, the trademark infringement case between Guess and Gucci is at least turning out to be the trial of the year…so far — after all Lindsay Lohan‘s been lying low lately. Marc Fisher, CEO of Marc Fisher Footwear, the exclusive footwear licensee of the defendant, Guess, wrapped up his testimony in court on Wednesday where emotions ran a little high.
Fisher’s lawyer, Darren Saunders, questioned Fisher over Gucci’s accusations that the defendants undertook a “massive scheme” to knock-off its designs, to which Fisher grew visibly choked up.
“I don’t understand the allegation,” his voice reportedly “quavering.” Accusations such as those, he insisted, would “jeopardize” not only his, but his family’s reputation.
“My family has been making shoes in this country probably longer than Guess exists,” he continued. Fisher’s father founded Nine West in 1978, while Fisher opened his own eponymous company in 2005.
During a three-hour cross-examination, Fisher repeatedly denied that his company knocked off Gucci’s shoes, but merely used them, and other brands, for “reference.”
“We do reference and use vintage designs quite a bit in our industry,” Fisher said, adding that sometimes shoe designs that were allegedly infringed upon Fisher had originally produced years before.
“So, Jimmy Choo knocked you off and then you knocked Jimmy Choo off?” Gucci lawyer Louis Ederer said sarcastically.
Fisher explained that many shoes turned out to be “tremendously similar” particularly over a “50-year period of time.”
Earlier that day, Ederer produced not only a thick binder from the Marc Fisher Footwear library, featuring five years of Gucci shoes Fisher Footwear had used for inspiration, but also a record of Fisher’s Gucci purchases over the last six to seven years, a total of $75,000.
The price tag seemed to shock Judge Shira Scheindlin who responded curiously, “I never saw a $2,000 pair of shoes. What do they look like?”
Ederer explained it was for a dress, not a pair of shoes — probably to the judge’s disappointment — before ending with his final question to Fisher: “You find this case ridiculous, don’t you Mr. Fisher?”
What is this, an episode of The Practice, or whatever legal show the kids are watching these days?
“I don’t think anything that takes this much time and money out of my life is ridiculous,” Fisher replied. “Gucci should have written me a [cease-and-desist] letter. That’s what should have happened.” [WWD, sub req'd]