Cartier sues Tiffany for unfair competition

It is alleged that top executives of the American brand tried to obtain “inappropriate” information about Cartier’s activities in the United States through a former employee.

Jewelry house Cartier, owned by the Swiss group Richemont, said it had filed a complaint in the United States against Tiffany & Co, a subsidiary of France’s LVMH, for “unfair competition”.

The jewelry house said in an email to AFP that top executives of the US brand had attempted to obtain “inappropriate” information about Cartier’s activities in the United States through a former employee, which led to their complaint.

The former employee, who left Cartier to join Tiffany’s, is also named in this complaint filed with a New York court.

“Cartier fully respects the right of its competitors to pursue their business goals,” the brand told Panther.

“In this case, Tiffany’s business ambitions crossed the line between the normal course of business and unfair competition,” she said.

Tiffany denies

The jewelry house, known for its tiger motifs and tiaras adorning crowned heads, is the largest jewelry brand of the Richemont Group in terms of turnover.

“Tiffany officially denies these baseless allegations and intends to vigorously defend itself,” the American brand bought last year by luxury French giant LVMH, for its part, responded.

Already Parisian homeowner Chaumet and Italian jeweler Bvlgari, ranked number one in the world of luxury, had spent $15.8 billion (€14.2 billion at current prices) to buy Tiffany & Co. in order to boost its jewelry business with this iconic American timeless brand in the movie ” Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn.

trade secrets

According to the complaint, executives of the US brand attempted to obtain “confidential information and trade secrets” through a young employee.

Faced with a wave of departures, the American brand would have resorted to “easy money” and promises of advancement to lure this young female employee “knowing that she did not have the experience and knowledge for a position as a fine jewelry manager, the complaint said. In particular, she was offered a salary increase of 5%. 30% compared to what I got at Cartier.

According to the complaint, she would have downloaded the documents before leaving with the idea of ​​preparing for her future position.

Cartier subsequently contacted the US brand three times, which finally fired it, five and a half weeks after its enlistment, without taking action against its executives who pressured it, according to the complaint.

7.5 billion euros jewelry sales

Fine Jewelery includes exceptional pieces whose prices can rise from $50,000 to $10 million and is managed separately from Cartier’s other jewelery business.

The Richemont Group, which also owns the French brand Van Cleef & Arpels and Italian jeweler Buccellati, generates more than half of its jewelry sales.

During the 2020/2021 financial year (ending at the end of March), the sales volume of the group, which also heads the fashion brand Chloé and luxury watch brands such as Piaget and IWC, rose to 13.4 billion euros.

The group, which publishes its accounts on an intermittent basis, said that jewelry alone generated sales of 7.5 billion euros, and the sector has better withstood the shock of the pandemic.

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