Gucci versus Gucci: battle of the luxury brands

Isaac Mostovicz writes that Gucci may have a naming issue to deal with...

A luxury company must vigilantly protect its brand to ensure that it remains in control of its image. A company like Gucci certainly wouldn’t want other parties to misappropriate its trademark or the look of its products in counterfeit goods. But what happens when your company’s name is the same as someone else’s, and this person, while related to your founder, wants to set up a completely different company?

Gucci is attempting to answer just this question at the moment. Elisabetta Gucci, great-granddaughter of founder Guccio Gucci, and artistic director of an Italian interiors and accessories company, recently announced that she is putting her name on a luxury hotel that plans to open in Dubai next year, with the hope of starting a chain of hotels. The fashion house has issued a statement clarifying that it has nothing to do with Ms. Gucci’s plans, and said “”If necessary, Gucci will take any needful step to protect its rights.”

It’s an interesting conundrum. Elisabetta Gucci can say that she isn’t trying to take advantage of her famous heritage, but in my opinion, if that were the case, the hotel could have chosen a different name (though in that case we probably wouldn’t have heard about it). So there’s certainly publicity value in her name, whether or not she actively tries to dissociate herself from Gucci the company. We’ll have to see how much Elisabetta Gucci’s hotel matches the fashion house’s aesthetic, and whether the fashion house will make good on its threat if the two are similar.

Photo by Kai on Flickr.

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