Jewelry designer and manufacturer JewelPops Inc. is suing Royal Chain for allegedly copying more than 100 copyrighted Kameleon collection designs, as well as adopting a similar logo, marketing materials, and accessories, according to court documents.
The complaint details JewelPops’ claim that retailers are already confused about the difference between the two lines, and that if Royal Chain continues to sell its line, it will do lasting damage to JewelPops’ reputation in the industry.
The company is seeking a court-issued restraint against Royal Chain to prevent it from selling and marketing its new line. JewelPops has also asked Royal Chain to pay damages of no more than $150,000 and no less than $750, in addition to paying any legal costs that arise over the issue.
“Too often in our industry creativity and innovation are trampled down by those who seek to capitalize on the hard work and success of others,” said company founder and President Robert Smith in a statement. “We are bringing this case to not only vindicate our rights, but vindicate the hard work and commitment of more than 1,000 independent retailers and 100 sales representatives who have made the Kameleon brand what it is today.”
JewelPops was first made aware of alleged copyright infringement issues when Royal Chain showed their new Karisma Collection at an IJO buying show in August. The company filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York in preparation for the launch of Royal Chain’s new line on Sept. 1.
James Goggin, a senior partner with Verrill Dana, LLP, the law firm representing JewelPops, the parent company of Kameleon Jewelry, tells JCK that the complaint was served on Sept. 1. Royal Chain has not yet given an official response and has “20 days to do so,” says Goggin.
Max Moskowitz, of Ostrolenk Faber LLP, the legal firm representing Royal Chain, told JCK that prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the company has received two letters from JewelPops attorneys, beginning on Mar. 7 of this year—from a Canadian law firm where the company is based—and then on Apr. 12, from a New York law firm. Royal Chain responded to both letters denying and characterizing the allegations in these letters as frivolous and baseless.
Although Moskowitz has not yet responded to the third complaint filed by Verrill Dana LLP, he released Royal Chain’s official statement regarding the lawsuit:
Kameleon has not set forth in its complaint any valid copyright or trade dress claim. With regards to the copyright complaint, Royal Chain’s Karisma line would have to be a copy of Kameleon, which it is not. Royal Chain’s Karisma jewelry was designed in-house without copying any Kameleon design features. With regards to the trade dress portion of their complaint, JewelPops and their legal team have not exactly articulated any protectable trade dress.
“The references and wording in the trade dress portion of the complaint are very general and quite vague,” says Moskowitz. “There are no real specifics supporting their claim, which makes this a frivolous complaint.”
Moskowitz says that Royal Chain’s legal firm is planning to file counterclaims.