French luxury jewelry brand ‘Cartier’ files legal action against Tiffany & Co. – Trademark

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French luxury jewelry brand Cartier filed a lawsuit against rival Tiffany & Co in New York State Court in Manhattan on March 1, 2022, accusing the latter of stealing its trade secrets.

Cartier is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction that compels Tiffany and her former “junior manager” Megan Marino to return and refrain from using any of the allegedly misappropriated trade secrets

According to reports, Tiffany & Co. has hired ex-Cartier executive Megan Marino by offering a 30% raise despite the former’s six-month non-compete agreement, just to find out more about Cartier’s new collection. Cartier’s elite jewelry called “Blue Book”. This collection contains exclusive pieces that cost approximately between $50,000 and $10 million.

Cartier, in their lawsuit, also alleged that Marino downloaded “sensitive and confidential information” regarding Cartier’s proprietary jewelry for her own jewelry line before leaving the company, then later disclosed it to Tiffany.

According to the complaint, Marino wasn’t fired until weeks after Tiffany’s legal department learned of his behavior, but by then the damage had already been done.1

The court report also reveals that Marino also filed an affidavit in which she admitted to passing on confidential information from Cartier, including confidential information relating to internal presentations and information on the prices of the fine jewelry collection. She later admitted that she had passed the “sensitive and valuable” information to Tiffany & Co.

On the other hand, Tiffany kept silent in his defense in court, but one of Tiffany’s representatives in an interview made the statement “We deny the baseless allegation and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”2

Interestingly, this is not the first instance where Cartier has accused Tiffany of trade secret misappropriation earlier in the year 2014, Cartier filed a similar complaint against its rival brand Tiffany and a former employee. The case was later settled between the parties and dismissed, on the grounds that no data was ultimately used or obtained by the brand.

French luxury jewelry is not the only brand to have filed a complaint against its rival for misappropriation of manufacturing secrets. In 2011, French fashion designer Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent alleging the latter stole his signature “Red Outsole” from a monochrome pair. After three years of litigation, the court denied Christian Louboutin’s allegations against YSL, for the use of “red soles”, but the Court recognized the trademark protection that Louboutin was entitled to for its “red soles”.

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Footnotes

1. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/28/cartier-tiffany-co-lawsuit

2. https://robbreport.com/style/jewelry/cartier-accuses-tiffany-co-stealing-trade-secrets-lawsuit-1234666290/

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