Things are heating up on our favorite courtroom TV drama in the Gucci vs. Guess legal battle.
The latest in the juicy ongoing court proceedings is testimony from Paul Vando, a former director of men’s product at Marc Fisher Footwear, the company which provides Guess with its footwear--including several of the designs Gucci has named as knockoffs.
The last time we tuned in, Gucci's lawyer, Louis Ederer, had fingered Marc Fisher as an integral player in the "massive knockoff scheme," even presenting evidence that the company was sending Gucci fabric samples to Guess’ fabric supplier, with the intent to copy coloring and patterns. Ederer also read aloud emails between Marc Fisher and Guess, which specifically referenced Gucci products spanning from 1995 to 2008. Sounds like they've backed Marc Fisher into a corner, right?
Not so. Vando defended the company yesterday in court, saying it was “absolutely not” ever his intention to fool customers into thinking his Guess designs were, in fact, Gucci shoes, Footwear News is reporting.
But things got sticky when Vando was asked why he went shopping at a Gucci store on May 8 2010, a day after his deposition at the plaintiff’s attorney’s office. "I went to Gucci under the instruction of Marc Fisher," Vando said. "I also went to Ferragamo and Tod’s to purchase styles similar in nature [to any Gucci ones I may have bought]." (Hear that, Ferragamo and Tod's?)
When pressed by Gucci's lawyer on what specific styles he purchased, Vando said, "A cap toe dress shoe, a drive moc and maybe a loafer. I don’t know what [Fisher] wanted them for." Ok...
Oddly, part of Marc Fisher's defense is that the company's practice of knocking off being inspired by other brands, is not limited to Gucci. Vando said the company had used “close to 100 [brands]," as reference points, "from athletic brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma to fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada and D Squared.”
Well that explains why the footwear company gets in trouble so often for violating intellectual property rights...