Guess left the final courtroom session of its trademark infringement case with Gucci on slightly stronger footing, but the judge in the case has yet to make a final decision.
Daniel Petrocelli, defense lawyer for Guess, argued yesterday that his client's products simply didn't infringe on any of Gucci's "weak trademarks," primarily because other brands had similar designs. He also pointed out that if Gucci had been legitimately concerned about Guess making Gucci knockoffs over 20 years ago, it would have filed this lawsuit sooner.
Judge Shira Scheindlin asked Gucci's lawyer Louis Ederer why his client didn't come to court sooner and didn't seem satisfied by his answer that at the time, Gucci's focus was on shutting down counterfeiters.
Still, Ederer's closing statement maintained that Guess wantonly re-created Gucci's products. Earlier in the trial, he presented emails between Guess and its licensees that suggest Guess worked specifically to mimic Gucci's style.
"This was a perfect storm of willful infringement," Ederer said. "It was in fact a calculated scheme."
Calculated or not, the Guess team left the court in high spirits.
"We had a good day," said Guess CEO Paul Marciano, who testified in the trial last week. "I think we put up, in my view, overwhelming evidence of good faith that there was no infringement."
Scheindlin is expected to hand down her final decision on the case within the next few months.
Gucci's lawsuit claims that over 150 products produced by Guess and its licensees since the late '80s knocked off Gucci's signature diamond logo pattern and striped ribbon motif. The suit seeks damages of $221 million and an order for Guess to stop selling the offending products.
Photo: Marciano with model Alyssa Miller in 2010.