Gucci may be one nail away from a new legal battle

Kevin Bercimuelle-Chamot
Still dreaming of the outfits and accessories seen on the catwalks at recent Fashion Weeks around the world? Such dreams may come with legal headaches in some cases, eg for Italian fashion house Gucci.

Young and talented Katfriend Kevin Bercimuelle-Chamot (Lumière University Lyon 2) explains what is or may be going on.

Here’s what Kevin writes:

“The first half of 2015 has been a fairly animated one for Gucci. First, its (long-standing) cross-border trade mark battle against Guess? has taken a new shape. While the action that the Italian house had brought in France was dismissed on 30 January 2015, on 11 August 2015 Gucci won against Guess? before an Australian court. 

This legal saga, however, has not been the only element spicing life up at Gucci. 

Like other fashion houses [the latest piece of gossip appears to be that Phoebe Philo may be about to leave Céline] also Gucci has taken part in the fashion game of musical chairs. 

In January 2015 Alessandro Michele was appointed creative director following the abrupt departure of Frida Giannini [together with her now husband and former Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco]. But this period of renewal might also be the beginning of a new legal battle.

Bijules nail rings
And Gucci might be the infringer this time.

Indeed, on 23 September last Gucci unveiled its Spring/Summer 2016 women’s collection. Amidst numerous accessories, golden nail rings could be spotted on the hands of models. It was the first time that the Italian house proposed this type of jewels.

The response of the fashion world has been immediate.

Among other reactions, one has to be particularly underlined. It is the one of American jeweller Bijules, also famous in the luxury market for its … nail rings. They are worn by celebrities like Beyoncé and Rihanna, just to mention a couple.

In a statement, Bijules designer Kim Jules said that Bijules may consider starting proceedings against Gucci for copyright infringement. She also pointed out how Gucci’s new creative director could have not been unaware of Bijules creations in his former capacity as Gucci head of accessories.

While waiting for future (contentious) developments, we may want to take a look at and compare the nail rings by Bijules and Gucci, respectively.  

Gucci nail rings
The “Bijules Serpensive Nail Ring” was registered with the US Copyright Office in 2007. As such it is protected by copyright under US law. The relevant rings – made of silver or gold – are composed as follows. The upper part of the ring reproduces the shape of a woman’s nail, which is attached to the finger through a ring. The lower part is shaped as a snake directed towards the hand. Overall these rings superpose the nail onto the distal phalanx of the wearer. Several models exist on the market, including one encrusted with crystals. A variation of the size of the nail can be also found.

The nail rings presented during Gucci’s show are all golden. They also reproduce the shape of a nail, that is juxtaposed to the nail of the wearer thanks to a ring at its basis. In several versions there is also the double G monogram of Gucci reproduced in small dimensions. There is also a version in which a golden bee is to be found on the basis of the ring. It is noteworthy to underline that the bee points towards the hand of the wearer. Also, other versions are made with spikes on the nail. The global size of the nail ring is variable, depending on the version.

It can be said that there might be a strong similarity between those nails rings, especially with regard to some versions. It is especially true after comparing detail by detail the rings of Bijules and Gucci.

But to hear the continuation of this story, we have to wait to see what Bijules eventually decides to do (also considering that it is unclear whether Gucci intends to market its own rings). If an action for copyright infringement is eventually brought, it will be interesting to see on what defence(s) (if any) the Italian fashion house will try to rely.”
Gucci may be one nail away from a new legal battle Gucci may be one nail away from a new legal battle Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Tuesday, October 06, 2015 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Just to clarify, registration isn't necessary under US law, it just enables statutory damages.


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