Fordham Law


As Gucci Continues to Go After Guess for Trademark Infringement, What Does It All Mean for Louboutin vs. YSL?

Susan Scafidi in Next New Fashion, May 23, 2012

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The 3-year-long Gucci v. Guess trademark infringement debacle lastly came to an end this week in the US, with Gucci awarded the comparatively low settlement of $ 4.7 million in damages (compared to the requested $ 221 million). But it is not more than but: WWD is reporting that Gucci is apparently organizing to file new brand protection instances in Italy, China, and France. So this is going to drag out for a long time.


But the case has been raising a lot of queries. Aside from the monetary win, a single of the outcomes of the case was that Guess is permanently banned from making use of its Gucci-esque Quattro G pattern, as properly as the green-red-green stripe pattern that has agruably become Gucci’s most recognizable trademark.

Of program, the notion of frequently utilized colors representing a brand brings to thoughts that other legal battle that’s been poisoning the waters of the friendly style planet: Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent, which, a lot more than a year later, is nevertheless raging on in the Court of Appeals. Last April, Louboutin filed a suit against YSL for selling red-soled shoes– a longtime element of the brand’s identity and a legal trademark belonging to Louboutin considering that 2008. The court initially sided with YSL stating that no 1 ought to have a “monopoly” over the color red– which, in February, led Louboutin to speak out against YSL and its parent business PPR. Through Vogue UK:

I discover it most extraordinary that a group like PPR would take the danger of defending itself as a plagiarist. They claim to fight against counterfeiting and plagiarism of which they are victims and but behave like this.

Interestingly enough, the trademark-conscious Gucci is also owned by PPR. So will the choice on YSL’s sister brand’s color protection impact the outcome of Louboutin v. YSL? The answer is still unclear, but it’s not looking wonderful for Louboutin, whose trademark validity is nevertheless in question. Whilst Fordham University’s Fashion Law Institute director Susan Scafidi echoed to WWD the judge’s sentiment that “color marks are protectable,” Gibney Anthony &amp Flaherty LLP companion Brian Brakote said that he “[didn't] see this situation having a considerable effect on that [Louboutin v. YSL].”

It is a lot of ugliness in the name of beauty, that’s for certain.