In an emotional Instagram video, bridal designer and Say Yes to the Dress star Hayley Paige (née Hayley Paige Gutman) announced her resignation from her label JLM Couture and revealed she's lost the rights to her own name and social media handles amid an ongoing legal battle with the company.
"It is with a heavy heart that I have resigned from my role as head designer of my labels with JLM Couture. Going forward, I will no longer be associated with any of their products, including the designs and dresses which bear my name," the designer shared on her personal Instagram account, @allthatglittersonthegram.
"JLM Couture has convinced a court to temporarily prevent me from even using my own name in public in any business context, possibly even including announcing what they have done to me. The Court also granted them control of the million-plus follower Instagram account that I started in early 2012, along with my TikTok and Pinterest accounts for their own purposes. At present, I am not even allowed to remove my personal photos or thoughts from these accounts," Gutman continued in the now viral clip.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, JLM Couture states that in the Employee Agreement signed by Gutman, she agreed to let the company trademark rights to "Hayley Paige" and all derivatives (the company later filed 10 trademark registrations containing the designer's name). The contract also extended to the social media account @misshayleypaige and other accounts on platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.
However, JLM Couture claimed problems arose when Gutman created a TikTok account with the username @misshayleypaige in Nov. 2019 with videos that "did not properly represent the HP Brands." Then in late 2019, Gutman changed the bio section of the @misshayleypaige Instagram to read "personal & creative account," which JLM Couture said was a breach of their agreement.
"In or about July of 2020, Gutman began posting personal images in addition to bridal images, as well as uploading posts promoting the goods of third parties, such as olive oil, beer and nutritional supplements, none of which were approved by JLM," the court filing reads. "Consumers who followed the Main IG Account do not expect to see salad dressing promotions, fitness videos and scantily clad images as they are not in line with the image JLM presents."
Gutman tearfully shared with her followers that JLM Couture is "trying to prevent me from using my own birth name in any business whatsoever indefinitely." She said that when she originally signed the Employee Agreement with JLM Couture, she was 25 years old with no lawyer. "If anyone tells you that you don't need to have a lawyer look at an agreement or contract, please get a lawyer, if that is the only thing you take away from this video," she said.
Now, she thinks JLM Couture is attempting to "take my authentic relationships on Instagram and turn them into purely a business opportunity or a product-driven page."
Gutman also shared the following exclusive statement with PEOPLE: "The way JLM Couture has behaved is exactly why I don’t wish to be associated with them any longer. JLM made a lot of claims in their lawsuit, and we will have a lot to say about them, in court. We are confident that justice will be done.”
In a statement shared with Page Six, a spokesperson for JLM Couture said: “For nearly a decade, JLM Couture has worked closely with Hayley Paige Gutman and was the 100% financial backer of the Hayley Paige brand and helped grow it into a successful wedding gown line. While negotiating a new employment contract, the two sides disagreed over how much freedom Hayley would have to promote her non-related side businesses on the company site. After Hayley stopped posting JLM content and deprived the company access to the account, we brought the matter before the court. After carefully listening to both sides, a judge granted us the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). We respect the judge’s decision that JLM should have temporary control over the company site and feel the process was fair and equitable. Joe continues to hold Hayley in high regard and hopes to resolve their differences.”
PEOPLE has reached out to JLM Couture for additional comment.