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French Luxury Jewelry Brand ‘Cartier’ files lawsuit against Tiffany & Co.

April 19, 2022

By Aprit Kalra and Shilpi Sinha

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

Cartier is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief that requires Tiffany and their former ‘Junior Manager’ Megan Marino to return and abstain from using any of the allegedly misappropriated trade secrets

As per the reports Tiffany & Co. hired a former executive worker of Cartier Megan Marino by offering a 30% raise despite the formers six-month non-compete agreement, just to learn about Cartier’s new élite jewellery collection called ‘Blue Book’. This collection contains exclusive pieces which approximately cost between $50,000 to $10 million.

Cartier in their suit has also alleged that Marino downloaded ‘sensitive & confidential information’ regarding the Cartier’s exclusive jewellery for her own line of jewellery business before exiting the company and then later disclosed it to Tiffany.

According to the complaint Marino was fired only after weeks when Tiffany’s legal department was informed of her behaviour, but by then the damage had already been done.[1]

The Court report also reveals that, Marino also filed an affidavit wherein she admitted forwarding confidential information from Cartier which included confidential information pertaining to the internal presentations and pricing information about the High Jewellery collection. She later admitted that the she passed along the ‘sensitive & valuable’ information to Tiffany & Co.

On the other hand, Tiffany has stood silence for its defence with the court, but one of the Tiffany representative in an interview made the statement ‘We deny the baseless allegation and will vigorously defend ourselves.’[2]

Interestingly, this isn’t the first case where Cartier has alleged Tiffany for misappropriation of trade secret earlier in the year 2014, Cartier filed a similar suit against its rival brand Tiffany and an ex-employee. The case was later settled between the parties and disposed off, on the reasoning that no data was eventually used or obtained by the brand.

The French Luxury jewellers isn’t the only brand to file case against its rival for misappropriation of trade secrets. Back in the year 2011, French fashion designer Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent alleging that the latter has stolen its signature sole ‘Red Outsole’ on a pair of monochromatic. After three years, of proceedings the court denied the allegations of Christian Louboutin against YSL, for the use of ‘red outsoles’, but the Court acknowledged the trademark protection that the Louboutin was entitled for its ‘red outsoles’.

[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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