Big Names in Trademark Battles

Some big names were involved in trademark lawsuits recently:

Sterling Jewelers sued two New York jewelry companies, Classic Imports and Key Items, alleging that both are engaging in “the unauthorized copying” of its copyrighted Open Hearts by Jane Seymour line. (See “Jane Seymour Opens Her Heart,” JCK, June 2009, p. 92.)

Sterling’s complaint calls the Jane Seymour line “one of the most popular and best-selling jewelry lines in the United States.”

Classic Imports and Key Items did not respond to requests for comment.

Sterling Jewelers spokesman David Bouffard told JCK: “Sterling Jewelers cannot tolerate any attempt by others to ignore the legal and ethical premise of copyrights.”

In September, Sterling announced a settlement with two other companies it accused of infringing on its Open Hearts by Jane Seymour copyrights.

De Boulle Diamond and Jewelry, a retailer based in Dallas, is suing the De Beers retail chain over its “De Beers” mark.

De Boulle contends that “use of the mark ‘DB’ or any form thereof by [De Beers], infringes on, dilutes, and constitutes unfair competition with Plaintiff’s rights in its ‘dB’ and ‘deB’ marks used in commerce in connection with the sale of diamonds, timepieces, and jewelry.”

According to D magazine, the two parties have been fighting over use of the initials DB since 2004. The magazine noted the owner’s brother, Jean Raymond Boulle, previously worked for the retail chain’s parent company, the De Beers Group, in West Africa.

Fortunoff Brands, which purchased the Fortunoff name after the original chain liquidated, is suing a jewelry company it claims is infringing on its trade and service marks.

The suit claims a Web site, www.fortunejewelryexchange.com, as well as an associated retail store in Westbury, N.Y., use the logo “Fortun off,” as well as the same “distinctive font” as the original Fortunoff. The suit claims the store operates across the street from the Mall at the Source, which was the home of the original Fortunoff flagship and site of a future Fortunoff furniture store.

At press time, the site had gone offline.