Expert Witness In Gucci vs. Guess Case Says Copying Is Standard Practice
Just when we thought Gucci‘s copyright infringement lawsuit against Guess was over, there’s a twist.
According to WWD, Marc Fisher Footwear called former shoe designer turned part-time instructor at Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Bonnie Smith to the stand to testify as an expert witness. In other words, she knows her stuff.
Marc Fisher, CEO of March Fisher Footwear, and former director of men’s product Paul Vando testified earlier this week that the company used Gucci products as reference points. Smith confirmed those practices and told the court that it’s common for companies to buy another brand’s shoes, send them to factories, and have them re-made with different design elements.
“For want of a better word, yes, we ‘copy,’ we duplicate, we fool around with [original versions]. … It’s all because a retailer wants it. … [But] it’s really hard to make shoes identical, and I don’t think anyone really tries to do that.”
She denied any similarities between the Gucci and Guess sneakers that pissed off the Italian house in the first place.
“It’s a different construction…The fabric is different, the lacing is different, the rectangles of the Gs are different.”
Smith also said that the Gucci sneaker is a knock-off of an Adidas shoe and pointed out similar design elements on the toes, heels, overlays, and stripe designs. But that’s not all. To confirm Smith’s claim that footwear companies copy designs, Fisher’s lawyers ran a little experiment:
The day ended in a dramatic twist when Darren Saunders, Marc Fisher Footwear’s attorney, showed Smith samples of a Vans shoe, an Adidas Stan Smith shoe and a Sperry Top-Sider shoe — all shoes Smith described to the court as “iconic.”
Saunders then produced three more that appeared similar to the first three and asked Smith to identify them.
“These are all Gucci shoes,” the witness said.