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Less than a week after Gucci America, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the ex-wife (Jenny) and daughter (Gemma) of Italian fashion icon Paolo Gucci alleging both trademark infringement and dilution, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled in favor of Manhattan-based Gucci America, stating that the defendants “did not take precautions to avoid infringing plaintiff’s trademarks.”
Filed on July 30 in Manhattan federal court, the lawsuit argued that in utilizing both their famous last names as well as the trademarked green-and-red striped design logo, Jenny and Gemma Gucci “attempted to capitalize on the popularity of the Gucci trademarks by licensing, attempting to license, and/or permitting various companies to the infringing marks.” The allegedly infringing marks appear on a line of cosmetics, bedding, handbags, and a variety of other goods.
Paolo Gucci, who passed away in 1995, was the grandson of the company’s founder. In her defense, Jenny Gucci argued that during her 13-year marriage to Paolo, he authorized her use of the Gucci name on certain goods, including her daughter’s jewelry line entitled “Gemma by Gemma Gucci.”
However, Judge Berman was not persuaded; his August 5 order prevents the mother and daughter from making any commercial use of their names on a wide variety of goods, including “coffee, bedding, housewares, cosmetics, hosiery, handbags, wine and gelato.”
The day Judge Berman issued his decision, Gucci America also filed suit against several credit card processing companies for trademark infringement. The companies allegedly facilitated the same of counterfeit Gucci products on the Internet.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the lawsuit named Frontline Processing Corp., Durango Ban, Durango Merchant Services LLC, Woodforest National Band and unnamed companies, seeking an injunction and unspecified damages. Specifically, Gucci argues the companies “not only supply the necessary marketplace for such transactions, they are full partners in those counterfeiting activities.” No word yet on how the court will rule.
These latest two lawsuits likely stem from Gucci America’s 2008 victory over Laurette Co. (which owns the website TheBagAddiction.com). In December 2008, the district court found that Laurette Co.’s sale of counterfeit Gucci products contributed to trademark infringement and ordered the company, along with others, to pay Gucci $5.2 million.
With two wins already under its belt, Gucci’s efforts to vigirously protect the Gucci name against trademark infringement have been met with success.
– Jaci Thomson
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