Diamonds / Industry

WD Loses Patent Fight Against Fenix Diamonds


More than a year after WD Lab Grown Diamonds and Carnegie Institution of Washington filed suit against six competitors for purportedly infringing on Carnegie’s diamond-growing patents, a New York judge tossed their claims against the sole remaining defendant, Fenix Diamonds.

On June 16, Judge Jed S. Rakoff granted Fenix’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that there were “readily apparent” differences between the growing method outlined in the patent WD licensed from Carnegie and the method used by Fenix’s diamond grower, Nouveau.

In his ruling, Rakoff relied heavily on testimony from Bakul Limbasiya and his son, Chirag, who are both executives of Mumbai, India–based Nouveau, the successor company to New Diamond Era.

Their testimony asserted that while Nouveau, like WD, grew diamonds with the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method, its technique differed in several respects, including growing temperatures and the use of a sheath.

WD and Carnegie had earlier claimed that Fenix infringed on a second patent for using a post-growth treatment on its diamonds—a process sometimes called annealing. That claim was dropped, the judgment said.

Fenix filed a counterclaim to have Carnegie’s patent for post-growth treatment invalidated, and Rakoff ruled that claim would be allowed to go to trial.

In January 2020, WD, filing suit under its corporate name, M7D, targeted three pairs of companies: Pure Grown Diamonds and sister company IIa Technologies; ALTR Inc. and R.A. Riam Group; and Fenix Diamonds and Mahendra Brothers. The claim against Mahendra was later dropped.

(Nouveau and Fenix involve members of the Parikh family, which controls Mahendra, but they are separate entities, a spokesperson says.)

WD eventually settled with ALTR and Pure Grown and IIA, and signed a sublicensing agreement with another company, Evolution Diamond.

WD declined comment on the ruling. Fenix said in a statement that its “success in the lawsuit reflects our devotion to the market, to our products, and, especially, to our customers. Their support over the past 18 months has been incredible.”

(Photo courtesy of Fenix Diamonds)

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By: Rob Bates

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