A jewelry store from North Carolina files suit against the wedding jewelry giant to protect itself from legal threats
In a case that could pave the way for other brands to cry foul over social media posts, Artisan has filed a request for a declaratory judgment after receiving a cease-and-desist letter in March from Verragio over images the Cary, N.C.–based store placed on Instagram.
According to a complaint filed by Artisan on June 17 in North Carolina Eastern District Court, Artisan maintains it “did not design, create, or make the rings shown on its Instagram feed, but received them from a vendor.”
The complaint says Verragio engaged a third party to purchase one of the rings shown on Instagram, though Artisan insists that none of the six rings were sold to the public. The store also stated through counsel in its filing that it believes the posts did not constitute infringement of the wedding jewelry giant’s copyrights. (Artisan has since removed the images from Instagram.)
Howard Kroll, attorney for for Tucker Ellis LLP and national counsel for Verragio, tells JCK that Artisan sold at least one of the rings in question, which is in Verragio’s possession, and that Artisan offered to sell at least four more according to secret shoppers that Verragio employed to investigate the store’s offerings.
“We’re confident that a jury will find Artisan responsible for these infringing acts,” says Kroll, adding that five out of six of the ring images were described as either “Verragio style” or “Verragio inspired.” According to Kroll, the ring images were also listed on Yelp and Foursquare, and all had prices, indicating they were for sale.
A copyright violation could be subject to up to $150,000 in fines for each infringement.
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