Diamonds / Industry / Legal

GIA Gets Belgian Court to Rule Against Use of ‘AIG’


A court in Antwerp, Belgium, has ordered the AIG Belgium grading lab to stop using the initials AIG, finding that they infringe on GIA’s trademarks, according to a GIA statement.

AIG—which is, of course, GIA spelled backward—operates American International Gemological Laboratories and Antwerp International Gemological Laboratories. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

At the time of publication, AIG’s website listed branch offices in Belgium; Ramat Gan, Israel; London; New York City; Los Angeles; Houston; and Milan, where it appears to be based.

The Belgian judge ruled that the use of the name AIG constituted an “attempt to sail on the success of GIA’s marks,” according to GIA. JCK has not been provided with a copy of the decision.

The court imposed penalty payments of up to 500,000 euros for use of the now-prohibited mark, GIA said.

The GIA statement said that AIG’s period of appeal expired on March 25, and GIA is now pursuing an adjacent case regarding AIG-related entities in Israel. GIA didn’t respond to a question about whether it will take, or has taken, similar action in the United States.

For years, a lab called American International Gemologists operated out of California, with a mailing address in Georgia. It did appraisals for Diamond Nexus and

American International Gemologists filed for Chapter 7 in 2010. However, while California state records list the company as active, its website is currently offline.

“The global gem and jewelry trade and consumers around the world rely on the independence of GIA’s science-based gemological reports and the industry-leading quality of GIA education,” said Jennifer Wilson, GIA general counsel and senior vice president, in the GIA statement. “When others attempt to take advantage of GIA’s reputation and global recognition to create confusion in the trade and among consumers for financial gain, we will always respond with vigor and resolve.”

(Photo: Chris Potter/courtesy of Wikipedia)

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By: Rob Bates

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