Tearful CEOs, quippy judges, and a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails prosecution lawyer…seriously the Gucci vs. Guess courtroom case couldn’t be juicier if it had been scripted for television.
The latest development in the ongoing drama is testimony from Marc Fisher, the CEO of Guess’ footwear licensee Marc Fisher Footwear, who has been consistently fingered as an integral part in the “massive knockoff scheme.” According to WWD, Fisher actually started tearing up when his lawyer, Darren Saunders, recounted Gucci’s knockoff accusations. “I don’t understand the allegation,” Fisher said, his voice “quavering,” before he went on to explain how such a knockoff scheme would jeopardize his and his family’s reputation.
His father, just so you know, founded Nine West in 1978; Fisher launched his own namesake company in 2005, with Guess being their first big licensee.
“My family has been making shoes in this country probably longer than Guess exists,” he said, adding that the number of shoes Gucci claims infringed on its intellectual property rights represent just three percent of all shoes Marc Fisher Footwear made in a four-year period. And besides, that three percent aren’t knockoffs, they were just “inspired” by Gucci, okay?
It’s a sentimental story, but unfortunately the evidence does not stack up in Fisher’s favor. Gucci’s lawyer, Louis Ederer, showed the court a binder nearly a foot thick, and filled with photos of Gucci products, spanning the past five years. Fisher’s defense? That the company does not just collect Gucci products to use as “inspiration,” but that they have as many photos for several other brands, which they use as “references” for their designs. Um, okay…
Fisher also said the company references “vintage designs” quite frequently, adding that in certain cases, like when Jimmy Choo sent his company a cease-and-desist, the allegedly infringing shoes were actually inspired by looks Fisher had produced long before.
To which Ederer responded sarcastically: “So, Jimmy Choo knocked you off and then you knocked Jimmy Choo off?”
Things got even more interesting when Ederer presented a report showing Fisher’s Gucci purchases over the last six to seven years. The tally? A whopping $75,000 in Gucci merchandise, which Fisher had no problem admitting to. The judge, however, was intrigued.
“I never saw a $2,000 pair of shoes,” Judge Shira Scheindlin quipped. “What do they look like?”
See what we mean? It writes itself!