House of Gucci trademark issues
Updated: 5 days ago
I wanted to tell you about the House of Gucci movie I saw recently. If you are into fashion or movies, this film is really fabulous. Just seeing the wardrobe that the characters wear makes me a little wistful for the year or so that I lived in New York where people actually dressed up a lot.
While I was watching the movie, as usual, I was thinking about the trademark issues. At one point in the movie, Lady Gaga/Patrizia, who was Maurizio Gucci's wife, and a bit of an aggressive woman in terms of wanting control of the company, notices that her cleaning lady has what looks like a Gucci purse. She asks her where she got it, and the cleaning lady says, "oh I got it in that market off of such and such Street." Lady Gaga goes down to the market herself and she sees that there are a batch of counterfeit Gucci goods. She reports the trademark and copyright infringement to the patriarch, Aldo Gucci. He shrugs it off, indicating that he's not concerned at all. He's like, hey, if there are more purses that look like Gucci, that convey this idea of luxury and spread our brand around, it makes our brand more popular. He implies that the company has some sort of handshake agreement with the counterfeiters, where Gucci is actually profiting a bit from the counterfeit goods.
Now, as a trademark attorney, this was really surprising to me. Because when you have trademarks or copyrights, or really any intellectual property, generally you want to protect it against infringers. The idea is that the more knockoffs there are, the more it cheapens and dilutes your brand. When dilution happens, consumers lose the recognition of the primary trademark holder as the sole source of goods or services sold under the brand. I don't think that many companies will adopt this blasé attitude that Aldo Gucci apparently had of, yeah, there are counterfeiters, so what. (Side note that apparently the Gucci family not only did not approve the film, they may even take legal action against the producers).
Do you think counterfeit goods should be stopped? Do you think that sometimes they can help a brand? Let me know what you think.