Gucci's interlocking G's pattern is proving to be a bit problematic. Last year, Gucci walked away from the lawsuit it filed against Guess? with only a small fraction of the damages it was seeking for what it alleged was a massive trademark infringement scheme. And now, the Italian design house has lost the trademark for the same logo in the UK in several classes. Turns out, in the UK, you can apply to have a registered trademark revoked (under section 46(1)(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1994) and that's just what Gerry Weber International AG did.
According to a November 5th decision from the UK Intellectual Property Office, the Italian design house failed to use the interlocking G's trademark in various classes (think: clothing, footwear, leather goods, jewelry, etc.) for a five year period, or numerous five year periods, actually - the most recent being June 15, 2007 to June 14, 2012. According to the decision, while Gucci provided a range of examples of the use of the GG logo, (namely, product lookbooks) these reportedly lacked dates and failed to show a real commercial exploitation of the mark on the market, and as a result, were deemed to be insufficient evidence. Gucci's legal team did, however, provide acceptable forms of evidence for the use of the logo in connection with its Guilty fragrance. Hence, the non-revocation of the mark in the class that extends to fragrances.
The good news for Gucci: the design house, which recently reported its weakest growth in four years, still has registration status for the mark in the class of goods that covers fragrances, as they were able to show use of the mark on perfumes and packaging in the five year period at issue. The bad news for Gucci, aside from the fact that it just lost some of its most valuable intellectual property, this will likely affect any claims it has, or planned to bring, against Guess? in the UK, stemming from Guess?'s use of its trademark.
The take-away: UK brand owners, use your mark or you will lose it, and if you are hit with a trademark revocation lawsuit, provide the court with ample, adequate evidence. This means that you should be quite meticulously archiving all commercial uses of your mark along the way.