The Court for the Southern District of New York heard the remaining few testimonies from Marc Fisher Footwear in the Gucci America Inc. vs. Guess Inc. et al case on Wednesday afternoon.
Excerpts from depositions from former and current employees of Marc Fisher Footwear who were unable to be present in court for cross-examination focused on the firm’s efforts to ensure designs of Guess footwear did not infringe on copyrighted material from other brands.
Testimonies included those of Richard Danderline, former COO and CFO of Marc Fisher Footwear; Pascal Memishian, former fashion director of the firm, who handled Guess footwear; David Stamberg, former VP of Guess men’s footwear; Lori Becker, VP of product development during the period in question; and Jury Artola, former assistant to former director of men’s product Paul Vando.
Becker said in her witness statement, “It’s a very small company and there really isn’t any official policy for [approving designs].”
Danderline testified, “Marc Fisher was responsible for clearing all [designs].”
But Artola noted, “As far as I can remember, Guess corporate approved final designs. … Guess corporate approved shoes.”
Danderline also said he recalled the firm working with Kenyon & Kenyon LLP as outside counsel for intellectual property rights matters during the firm’s partnership with Guess. He said the firm received “a few, maybe a dozen” complaints, both formal and informal, from brands pertaining to the alleged infringement of their designs by Guess.
The brands included Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, Coach, Christian Dior and even Van Cleef & Arpels, which alleged a charm on a sandal came too close to one of its jewelry designs.
It also emerged from Danderline’s testimony that Marc Fisher Footwear’s settlement with Dior, which was about a particular stitching pattern, involved about $200,000.
Meanwhile, Guess’ lawyers replayed the video testimony of Sandro Risi, VP and CFO of Gucci America. In it, Risi admitted he had no reliable sales data for the Gucci America products it is alleging were infringed upon from 2000 to 2003. Gucci is claiming for damages and lost the sales related to trademark dilution and unfair competition for the years succeeding those dates.
Marc Fisher Footwear, as the exclusive licensee of Guess footwear and co-defendant in the case, is named in the suit as being “engaged in designing, manufacturing, advertising, promoting [and] selling apparel and products for men, women and children bearing logos … that are studied imitations of the Gucci trademarks, including a green-red-green stripe design, a repeat interlocking GG design, a stylized G design and a script Guess design.” Marc Fisher denies the allegations. The trial is expected to end tomorrow.