This Japanese clothing brand trolled Gucci and won

This Japanese clothing brand trolled Gucci and won

High-end fashion houses are in a constant battle to protect their brands from fakes and imposters. Sometimes it’s direct forgery designed to resemble the real thing, and sometimes it’s copycat brands that use similar branding to try to look like a big name. But now Gucci’s come up against something a little different – and lost.

In an apparent parody of the Italian fashion house, an Osaka-based entrepreneur registered a trademark for the brand Cuggl. But not content with using a name that inverts the G and double C of Gucci and changes the I to an L, the company is producing T-shirts that show its registered logo partially obscured, making it look like the Gucci logo redacted using hot pink paint. Suffice it to say that this could be one for our roundup of logos that look ridiculously similar.

Gucci Cuggl logo on a T-shirt

A Gucci, sorry Cuggl, T-shirt (Image credit: Parodys / Nobuaki Kurokawa)

According to the Japanese law firm Marks IP (opens in new tab), Nobuaki Kurokawa applied for a trademark (opens in new tab) for CUGGL in October 2020. Gucci was a little slow to realise, but when it did, it lodged a complaint accusing Kurokawa of trademarking his CUGGL mark with “malicious intent to free-ride on the goodwill and reputation” of its brand. It argued that CUGGL was “identical with, or similar to, a trademark which is well known among consumers in Japan or abroad” and that the likeness could damage its own reputation and deceive shoppers since it was being used in a fashion context.