Gucci founder, Guccio Gucci's two great-grandsons have been involved in some legal drama as of late. Brothers, Guccio and Alessandro Gucci, own and operate design label ToBeG Srl, which consists mainly of handbags. Guccio Gucci (the great-grandson) worked for Gucci for 12 years, until he and his father, Giorgio, established the Giorgio G handbags line. ToBeG was launched in 2008.
The Gucci Group (which is owned by French company PPR) brought suit against the two brothers in an Italian court earlier this year for trademark infringement. In mid-July, the Florence court found Guccio and Alessandro “guilty of infringement of Gucci’s trademarks” and enjoined them from using the name "Gucci" or "Guccio Gucci" for "marketing communications or website activities." WWD reported that the Gucci Group won the suit, but now Guccio and Alessandro's lawyer has spoken out, clarifying the court's ruling and saying that the court did not find ToBeG or the brothers 'guilty of infringement' [as the Telegraph stated] of the Gucci Group's trademarks. Read his statement below ...
Roberto Calabresi of SLCG, the legal firm representing ToBeG in the case, provided this statement:
"Such decision rejected the request of Guccio Gucci spa (the 'Gucci Group') to ban the use of the words 'Guccio Gucci' — which is the name of my client's CEO and designer — in all of ToBeG's commercial activity, and merely ordered ToBeG not to use the words 'Gucci' or 'Guccio' in its advertisements if and to the extent that such use may have a 'distinctive function.' In the event of a violation of the order, ToBeG would be subject to a fine of Euro 500.00 (five hundred), an amount much smaller than the penalty requested by the Gucci Group.
Such decision was made on a prima facie basis, is subject to appeal and can always be modified in the course of future proceedings. Having no res judicata effect, the order contains no final assessment or evaluation of the facts, and in no way could it find — nor did it find — ToBeG or Allesandro or Guccio Gucci 'guilty of infringement' [as the Telegraph stated] of the Gucci Group's trademarks.
In addition, there are no similarities between this case and the other disputes between the Gucci Group and other members of the Gucci family. [* Here, Calabresi is referring to the Gucci Group's 2009 trademark suit against Jennifer Gucci, the former wife of Paolo Gucci, (grandson of Guccio Gucci) and their daughter Gemma Gucci, who were accused of licensing the name for coffee shops; in 2010, a suit was brought by the Gucci Group against Cosimo Gucci in Hong Kong, when he planned to launch a luxury goods line; lastly, another suit prevented Elisabetta Gucci from launching a global chain of hotels under her name in 2010].
In contrast with the other cited cases, ToBeG's trademark contains no reference to the Gucci Group's name or brand. As such, the ToBeG trademark cannot in any way infringe or violate the Gucci Group's intellectual property rights."