Can De Beers Really Protect Everlon?

Trademark squabbles in the jewelry industry have a long and storied history, but it’s hard to remember any as  well-publicized as the current squabbles over De Beers’ “Everlon Diamond Knot.”

An Everlon-authorized jeweler has gotten so upset about copycats he’s taken aim at them in his advertising. And just recently, a well-known jewelry manufacturer, part of a major industry consortium, received a “cease and desist” letter from De Beers, sources said.

De Beers indicates this is only the beginning: “There have been a number of companies who have been brought to our attention as potential infringers of our Everlon IP, and we are dealing with them on a case by case basis to protect our Sightholders and their retailers,” says its spokeswoman.

She adds that De Beers “has filed for various U.S. copyright registrations in the Everlon Collection and has applied for U.S. design patents for various pieces of the Everlon Collection. Several of the design patents have been allowed and registered and the others will issue in the near future.”

Industry trademark attorney Peter Berger said several of his clients have already received letters about Everlon.

But, like many in the industry, he notes that De Beers is not the first company to use “Hercules knot” inspired designs.

“A lot of people claim the ring design has been around a long time,” says Berger. “As far as I know, De Beers has started no lawsuits. And until there is successful legal action, some companies will probably continue to sell it.”

Even so, it’s hard to blame De Beers for getting upset; some retailers are carrying product with awfully similar designs. They are often called “love knots,” which was De Beers’ name for the product before it settled on “Everlon” (although the term “love knot” is public domain.)

One reason this has become an important issue is, clearly, Everlon is making noise; sources at one major chain call it a “bright spot.”

Still, when you talk to the independents carrying the product, many feel the big problem is not just the knock-offs, but major retailers who they think are cheapening it through discounts and improper presentations.

JCK News Director