Cartier lawsuit accuses Tiffany of stealing luxurious jewelry trade insider secrets

NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) – Cartier sued Tiffany & Co on Monday, accusing its luxurious rival of stealing trade strategies relating to its superior-finish jewelry from an employee it lured away in December, in a sign competitors in the rapidly-growing jewelry class is heating up.

According to a criticism filed in a New York point out court in Manhattan, Tiffany hired an underqualified junior manager away to learn much more about Cartier’s “High Jewelry” collection, the place parts typically charge $50,000 to $10 million.

Cartier, a unit of Switzerland’s Richemont SA , called Tiffany’s using the services of of Megan Marino a desperate bid to revive its possess large jewellery unit soon after it was remaining in “disarray” next several departures, reflecting Tiffany’s “disturbing culture of misappropriating competitive information.”

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According to courtroom papers, Tiffany appeared to pin supreme blame on Marino by firing her soon after just 5 months.

In an affidavit accompanying the complaint, Marino claimed Tiffany was “a lot more intrigued in choosing me as a resource of data than as a Substantial Jewelry supervisor.”

Cartier also accused Tiffany, owned by luxury goods group LVMH (LVMH.PA), of allowing a not long ago employed former Cartier executive get the job done on a higher jewellery venture referred to as the “Blue E-book” despite her 6-month non-compete settlement.

Contacted by Reuters, Tiffany reported in a statement: “We deny the baseless allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring that Tiffany return and not use stolen trade techniques, plus unspecified damages.

Cartier reported in a statement: “Cartier totally respects the rights of opponents to pursue their industrial objectives. In this case, nonetheless, Tiffany’s commercial ambition crossed the line concerning the common system of small business and unfair competition.”

Bernstein analyst Luca Solca stated he thought LVMH was indeed in the system of starting to be a contender for group management in opposition to Richemont.

“Branded jewelry – following the Tiffany acquisition – has reworked from an oligopoly to a duopoly. Tiffany has plenty of chance to revive its fortunes,” Solca explained in an emailed statement.

On Jan. 19, Richemont explained powerful desire for jewelry and watches subsequent a trough previously in the coronavirus pandemic boosted quarterly product sales by 32%.

Revenue at Richemont’s jewellery brand names Cartier, Buccellati and Van Cleef & Arpels rose 38%. study much more

The case is Cartier v Tiffany and Co, New York Point out Supreme Court docket, New York County.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, additional reporting by Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich Modifying by Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis

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