The European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) civil war has intensified, with the EGL network calling any new reports issued by the former EGL International “counterfeits.”
“On Nov. 25, the license agreement with the gemological laboratory operated by Mr. Guy Benhamou, a former EGL laboratory that also uses the name EGL International…was revoked and canceled,” said a Feb. 8 statement to the press, attributed to the “EGL trademark holders,” which includes heirs of late lab founder Guy Margel.
“This lab is not authorized to issue certificates bearing the EGL trademark in any form,” the statement continued. “Any certificate issued by this laboratory, including certificates bearing the name EGL INTERNATIONAL and/or the Internet address eglreports.org after [Nov. 25], is therefore a counterfeit report.… The EGL trademark rights owners reserve the right to prosecute anyone who makes use of such reports.”
The statement said the trademark holders have applied to the courts to dissolve Benhamou’s lab.
“Benhamou, while a minority shareholder, has taken control of the company and acts without their approval,” the statement said.
In December, the EGL network appointed Menahem Sevdermish its new global manager. He told JCK that EGL International would soon shut down.
But it hasn’t worked out that way, and in a statement, Benhamou slammed the initial notice as “deceitful.”
“Our company has a long-term franchise agreement with EGL International to issue certificates in its name up until the year 2020 (with an option to extend the agreement for ten more years),” it said. “This is a valid agreement which has never been nullified and continues to obligate both parties…to its terms and clauses.”
“Our company is authorized, without restrictions, conditions or prohibitions, to issue certificates under the name of EGL, as it has done for the past 22 years,” Benhamou continued. “Our company has met and continues to meet all the financial and professional franchise terms and conditions.”
The Benhamou statement added that threatening the lab’s customers “merits total condemnation.”
“These groups which attempt to harass us incessantly have failed in all their attempts,” it said. “[They] have realized that our laboratory is the most reliable and professional in the eyes of our all our clients.”
The statement says that no court case has been filed to dissolve the lab.
Last year, a local TV station criticized EGL International’s reports for alleged overgrading. The furor led RapNet to ban all EGL reports from its network, and Polygon to ban EGL International reports.
New York City–based EGL USA remains an independent lab from the EGL network.