Brandikaran | Gucci Battles With Founder’s Descendant, Uberto Gucci, Over Similar Branding
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Gucci Battles With Founder’s Descendant, Uberto Gucci, Over Similar Branding

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Gucci Battles With Founder’s Descendant, Uberto Gucci, Over Similar Branding

While Topman escaped scot-free with its deliberate “knock-off” Gucci t-shirt, a relative of Guccio Gucci wasn’t as lucky.

Previously a family business, Italian luxury brand Gucci now belongs to fashion house Kering, and none of the founder’s lineage heads its ranks. Great-grandson Uberto Gucci stayed on as Vice President of the Gucci Parfumes division in the 1980s, but subsequently departed to start his own brand under his namesake, ‘Uberto Gucci’. The new firm would specialize in electronic cigarettes.

Uberto Gucci tried to register a number of trademarks under his name—including a crest—with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), only to have them challenged by the company that his great-grandfather started years ago.

Gucci expressed its disdain with the filings in September 2015, arguing that Uberto Gucci’s trademarks would likely “cause confusion with, and dilute,” Gucci’s own, because they hold alike appearances, sounds, and meanings.

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Trademarks that Uberto Gucci applied for. Screenshot via USPTO

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Gucci’s trademarks. Screenshot via USPTO

Gucci elaborated that the use of Uberto Gucci’s trademarks could “deceive purchasers” into believing that its products are associated with or endorsed by Gucci.” The fashion brand would thus have no control over “the nature or quality of the goods and services” produced under Uberto Gucci’s name.

Furthermore, a wordmark Uberto Gucci filed for—which spells, “By Uberto Gucci”—appears “confusingly similar” to Gucci’s “signature.” Both are written in underlined cursive scripts, and have looped letter ‘G’s.

While Uberto Gucci defended that the Gucci family crest “was existing several hundred years ago and belonging to the Gucci family,” the fashion retailer argued that its own crest was in use “for decades.”

Gucci elaborated that the use of Uberto Gucci’s trademarks could “deceive purchasers” into believing that its products are associated with or endorsed by Gucci.” The fashion brand would thus have no control over “the nature or quality of the goods and services” produced under Uberto Gucci’s name.

The battle only came to an end recently, with USPTO’s Trademark Trial And Appeal Board (TTAB) siding with Gucci due to the fact that the similarity between both brands’ marks are “quite high.”

The board added that even with the inclusion of, “By Uberto,” in the Uberto Gucci trademark, consumers might believe both brands are affiliated, since it is “public knowledge” that Uberto has familial ties with Gucci’s founder—a point that the man admitted to.

Additionally, large fashion brands “sometimes introduce ‘secondary’ or ‘diffusion’ product lines… for example: Balmain’s secondary line ‘Pierre Balmain’; Marc Jacobs’ secondary line ‘Marc by Marc Jacobs’; Armani’s secondary line ‘Emporio Armani…’” The “By Uberto Gucci” mark could end up being mistaken as branding for a Gucci sub-brand.

TTAB also said that Uberto Gucci’s crest mark is “sufficiently similar in appearance to” one of Gucci’s crests, and might “cause confusion to occur,” even if it’s an extension of a family crest.

Concluding its decision, TTAB said, “Given the ‘known’ family connection between Uberto Gucci and the famous Gucci family, [Gucci’s] history and fame, the nature of the goods and similarity of the marks, we find source confusion likely between, at the very least, [Uberto Gucci’s] mark.

#brandingfornation

Brandkaran.com

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