NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) – Cartier sued Tiffany & Co on Monday, accusing its luxurious rival of thieving trade insider secrets about its substantial-finish jewelry from an employee it lured away in December, in a sign levels of competition in the speedy-rising jewellery classification is heating up.

According to a complaint filed in a New York condition court in Manhattan, Tiffany employed an underqualified junior supervisor absent to find out far more about Cartier’s “Significant Jewellery” collection, where items typically charge $50,000 to $10 million.

Cartier, a unit of Switzerland’s Richemont SA , called Tiffany’s hiring of Megan Marino a desperate bid to revive its individual significant jewelry unit soon after it was still left in “disarray” subsequent many departures, reflecting Tiffany’s “disturbing lifestyle of misappropriating aggressive facts.”

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In accordance to courtroom papers, Tiffany appeared to pin top blame on Marino by firing her after just 5 weeks.

In an affidavit accompanying the criticism, Marino stated Tiffany was “more fascinated in selecting me as a source of data than as a Superior Jewelry supervisor.”

Cartier also accused Tiffany, owned by luxury items team LVMH (LVMH.PA), of permitting a just lately employed former Cartier govt get the job done on a higher jewellery job termed the “Blue Book” inspite of her 6-month non-compete arrangement.

Contacted by Reuters, Tiffany mentioned in a assertion: “We deny the baseless allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction demanding that Tiffany return and not use stolen trade strategies, moreover unspecified damages.

Cartier mentioned in a assertion: “Cartier absolutely respects the rights of rivals to go after their industrial targets. In this scenario, on the other hand, Tiffany’s industrial ambition crossed the line among the regular course of enterprise and unfair competition.”

Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said he believed LVMH was in truth in the process of getting a contender for classification leadership towards Richemont.

“Branded jewellery – after the Tiffany acquisition – has reworked from an oligopoly to a duopoly. Tiffany has a good deal of opportunity to revive its fortunes,” Solca claimed in an emailed statement.

On Jan. 19, Richemont mentioned potent demand from customers for jewellery and watches pursuing a trough earlier in the coronavirus pandemic boosted quarterly product sales by 32%.

Product sales at Richemont’s jewellery brand names Cartier, Buccellati and Van Cleef & Arpels rose 38%. study much more

The case is Cartier v Tiffany and Co, New York Point out Supreme Court, New York County.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, additional reporting by Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich Enhancing by Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Believe in Principles.

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