Guess? Sued For "Studied Imitations" of Five Gucci Trademarks.

NEW YORK, May 6, 2009 -- Gucci initiated a federal lawsuit today against rival clothing label Guess? for "studied imitations" of at least five federally registered trademarks.

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York contains claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin.

The trademarks allegedly copied are referred to as: the green-red-green stripe, the stylized G trademark, the interlocking GG, the repeating interlocking GG design forming a diamond pattern, and the script Gucci.

Trademark infringement laws exist primarily to protect consumers from confusion about the source of goods or services, while the owner of the trademark actually recovers any monetary award or injunctive relief. Trademark dilution law protect the "uniqueness" of a trademark as a property interest.

Trade dress protects the distinctive overall appearance of a product, its packaging, or the decor of a enterprise's facility when the appearance is so uniques as to serve as an identifier of the source of goods or services.

Gucci is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in addition to attorneys fees, the destruction any counterfeit products, and a permanent injunction to prevent further use of its trademarks.

If Gucci is successful, they could recover defendants' profits and any damages sustained by the plaintiff because their trademarks are federally registered. In assessing damages the court may enter judgment for any sum above the amount found as actual damages, up to three times. When a court finds a defendant intentionally counterfeited a registered trademark, the court must, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances, enter judgment for three times such profits or damages, whichever is greater, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee unless the Plaintiff elects for statutory damages up to $1,000,000 per counterfeit mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale, or distributed.

The aforementioned damages for trademark infringement could be augmented by an award for the other claims of trademark dilution, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin.

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