EGL USA would like to clarify the serious legal ramifications to our trade regarding the recently reported border ban that has been imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection on the importation and distribution of grading certificates from EGL labs outside North America that are in violation of the EGL trademarks in North America.
The effect of the border ban is that all materials bearing EGL marks (including laser-inscribed diamonds), other than those authorized by EGL USA, can be seized by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. The illegal certificates, and accompanying diamonds, may be subject to confiscation or detention.
EGL USA’s intention is to protect the trade and consumers, not to disrupt business. We do not want the trade’s diamonds to be held up in Customs. As the exclusive owner of the EGL trademarks in North America, we are simply trying to do what the law requires: monitor and enforce the use of our trademarks to make sure that no one is confused as to the source of EGL certificates and to protect our hard-earned reputation and rights.
EGL USA has no formal affiliation with the EGL labs outside North America. In 1986, Guy Margel, who founded the first European Gemmological Laboratory in Belgium, sold to us all U.S. rights to the EGL and European Gemological Laboratory name and trademarks.
In June 1999, EGL USA registered the EGL and European Gemological Laboratory trademarks in Canada and operates two labs there, in Vancouver and Toronto.
If members of the trade in North America currently hold illegal EGL certs, we will work with them to resolve this problem. In regard to consumers, trademark laws apply only to commercial use; therefore, consumers are not liable as long as the end use of their certificate is noncommercial.
EGL USA has worked very hard to build up a reputation for high quality and professionalism. The trade and consumers must be able to recognize the origin of their certificates and trust that they are legitimate. The only way to provide that protection is to require that EGL certs in distribution in the United States and Canada come from one of our four authorized, official EGL USA labs that operate in accordance with U.S. and Canadian law.
We respectfully ask for the trade’s cooperation in this important matter.
Mark Gershburg, Director, EGL USA, New York, N.Y.
Three years ago I was struck with a major stroke, paralyzed on the entire left side of my body and handicapped. Since my stroke, I have encountered major problems in my life and business also. But I keep reading your magazine—which I not only enjoy, but which probably keeps me alive—to read about an industry that I have adored since 1959.
Keep publishing JCK—every time I read one issue, I feel that I am alive again.
With love and respect to JCK,
Joseph Amega, Los Angeles
I just took a moment from trying to find a way to pay the bills for my small jewelry store to read your “Editor’s Page” in the September 2003 JCK magazine, hoping to find some uplifting or helpful ideas.
Let me get this straight:
You are the editor-in-chief of a magazine supported by subscriptions of retail jewelers and ad revenues of advertisers that sell to them including Belair Watch Co., a purveyor of nice and very inexpensive timepieces. Yet when you need an inexpensive watch, instead of going to a jewelry store that would appreciate your business and supports your magazine, you go to a department store to buy. Then you complain about the lack of service there. The lack of service at the department store is the only good news in your article.
Some suggestions for future articles:
You could write about helping a family member buy a 1-ct. diamond on the Internet direct from a diamond cutter also bypassing the industry that supports you.
You could write a farewell article when your magazine shuts down because your customer base of retail jewelers have all gone out of business because of consumers like you.
John Weiss, Summer Bay Jewelers, Clermont, Fla.
Hedda Schupak replies:
While I certainly try my best to support this industry in deed as well as theory, the idea of what constitutes an “inexpensive” watch is subjective. My mother has several fine watches, and in this instance we wanted to spend no more than $30, for a watch that might get damaged. I know of very few retail jewelers who feel it’s profitable to sell watches at that price point, particularly if they’ve got high overhead costs, such as mall rent. And as this incident happened on a Sunday, we were limited to stores with Sunday hours—i.e., in a mall.