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Guess Ordered To Pay Gucci $4.7 Million

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled on a different merchandise dispute this week, and that brings us to our last word in business. The question here is under what circumstances you can trademark a single letter - the letter G.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That was the question posed in the form of a lawsuit filed by the luxury fashion brand, Gucci, of the famous interlocking G logo against its more downscale rival, Guess.

MONTAGNE: Gucci sued Guess over trademark infringement, citing multiple cases of designs it claimed were quote, "studied imitations of Gucci trademarks."

ALEXANDRA STEIGRAD: For example, there was a tricolor motif on some shoes, so it was a red-green-red stripe on shoes.

INSKEEP: Alexandra Steigrad is the legal reporter for Women's Wear Daily and she has been covering this trial. She explains Gucci's point of view.

STEIGRAD: They were basically saying that Guess had, you know, copied that mark. And there's also a G pattern which, you know, if you own a Guess or a Gucci bag there's a G kind of pattern on a beige background. They're very similar. And so Guess was basically being accused of copying that pattern.

MONTAGNE: The judge rejected Gucci's claim that Guess was counterfeiting, but Gucci did win part of the case.

INSKEEP: So while Gucci sued for $200 million, it was given a more downscale Guess-like judgment of $4.7 million.

MONTAGNE: Gee. Well, that's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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