Thursday, 6 August 2009

It's in the bag for "Big Gucci"

Some fashion icons have been described as having that "to kill for" quality -- but others, it seems to Fashionista, have a different character: "to sue for". Not for the first time, members of the illustrious Gucci clan have taken a trip to court to resolve knotty issues of the "who is Gucci?" variety.

Yesterday US District Judge Richard Berman ruled in favour of Manhattan-based Gucci America in its battle with Jenny Gucci -- author of Gucci Wars -- and her daughter Gemma, whom it sued for trade mark infringement in 2007. According to the judge, Jenny and Gemma had "willfully infringed and diluted the Gucci trade marks" by entering into a licensing agreement that resulted in a "confusingly similar" line of products being marketed under their names -- and incidentally mimicking Gucci's classic, green-red-green colour scheme.

Jenny is a sort of Dowager Gucci, having been married to Paolo Gucci (the grandson of the founder of the family's fashion empire) between 1977 to 1990, when they separated. Paolo died in 1995, following years of dispute that eventually drove all the 'real' Guccis out of the company that still bears their name (the business today is owned by French retail group PPR SA).

According to Jenny, Gucci America was "Big Gucci" and she was "Little Gucci". Be that as it may, the judge felt that the two ladies "did not take precautions to avoid infringing plaintiff's trademarks", ordering the pair to stop making any commercial use of their names on a long list of products including "coffee, bedding, housewares, cosmetics, hosiery, handbags, wine and gelato".