De Beers Wins Case Against DeBeers.Feedback Site

The panel mostly looked at whether the site’s reviews were genuine

De Beers has won the rights to Debeers.feedback after bringing a case to the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property arbitration panel.

The Debeers.feedback site, as it now stands, includes a few purported reviews and a disclaimer that says it is “provided to facilitate free speech regarding De Beers. No direct endorsement or association should be conferred.”

De Beers’ lawyers, however, argued that the so-far anonymous person or company behind the site has evidenced bad faith. It argued the disclaimer was small and unnoticeable and challenged the veracity of the posted reviews.

The panel mostly looked at whether the reviews were genuine.

The panel noted that while the 11 posted reviews do not appear to be fake, for a long time the site featured only a one-line review (“Nah, mate”). The remaining 10 appeared after De Beers sent a complaint letter on March 24, despite being dated from various times. No reviews have appeared after April 19.

“In the absence of an acceptable explanation, indeed any explanation at all, about the very belated appearance of the ‘reviews’ dated before the letter of demand was sent, the Panel finds that the Complainant has demonstrated a prima facie case that the reviews are not genuine,” the panel wrote.

De Beers spokesperson Lynette Gould said, “We’re very pleased. Luxury businesses such as De Beers make huge investments over a number of generations to grow the value of their brand, and any misuse of our intellectual property could seriously undermine our brand equity.”

The news was first reported in U.K. trade magazine Professional Jeweller.

JCK News Director