Shoes were again the focus in the courtroom Monday as the hearing of Gucci America Inc. versus Guess? Inc. et al. continued in downtown Manhattan.
Paul Vando, a former director of men’s product at Marc Fisher Footwear, was being cross-examined by the firm’s counsel in the case, Darren Saunders of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, to determine if he ever bought Gucci footwear to, as Gucci alleges, “copy” their designs for Guess footwear.
Responding to allegations that certain styles of Guess footwear infringed on Gucci trademarks including a green-red-green stripe design, a repeat interlocking GG design and a script “Guess” logo design, Vando said it was “absolutely not” ever his intention that Guess could fool others into thinking they were Gucci shoes.
“My job in creating footwear for Guess men’s was to create product that appealed to a very specific consumer. I’m very proud of the product that we’ve done,” Vando said.
When 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, Vando said, “I went to Gucci under the instruction of Marc Fisher. I also went to Ferragamo and Tod’s to purchase styles similar in nature [to any Gucci ones I may have bought].”
When pushed by Gucci’s attorney, Louis Ederer of Arnold & Porter, on what styles he bought and why, Vando replied, “A cap toe dress shoe, a drive moc and maybe a loafer. I don’t know what [Fisher] wanted them for.”
There was a tense moment when Ederer persisted on the similarity of design and element on the Melrose and Manchester men’s shoe styles, questioning why Vando decided to use the same brown-red-brown stripe as Gucci did down the side of the shoes.
“We call them color CADs (computer-aided designs). It’s a computer program on which we can play around to find the best color combinations,” Vando retorted.
And when asked by Saunders how many brands Vando has used as points of references in the design process for Guess footwear, Vando said, “Close to 100, from athletic brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma to fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada and D Squared.”
Gucci alleges that Guess has been knocking off its trademarks for years and is seeking $221 million in damages.
Marc Fisher Footwear, as the exclusive licensee of Guess footwear, is also named as “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 hearing continued Monday afternoon with testimony from Signal Products Inc., the Guess handbags licensee.