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Mejuri has filed a countersuit against David Yurman in New York courts, alleging that the legacy New York jeweler is bullying, “an emerging female-founded competitor.”
In December, Yurman kicked off the spat with a trade dress lawsuit claiming that direct-to-consumer Millennial jeweler Mejuri was a “serial copyist.”
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Most of Yurman’s original suit centered around Mejuri’s Croissant Dôme collection, alleging that it bared a strong resemblance to Yurman’s own Pure Form collection and confused consumers in the process. The suit also claimed that Mejuri has used models, influencers and marketing techniques that infringe on the Yurman brand’s distinct creative processes.
Mejuri is now hitting back with its own countersuit saying that, “The claims made by David Yurman in its complaint are without merit and fundamentally at odds with what Mejuri stands for and who they are as a company. Mejuri is an innovative, modern jewelry brand that has made a name for itself by flipping the narrative that fine jewelry is something that must be earned or gifted to women buying jewelry for themselves.”
“Yurman’s complaint is not a legitimate attempt to protect its intellectual property but is instead an effort to bully and stifle an emerging competitor by claiming a monopoly on classic jewelry designs used for centuries — designs that are ubiquitous in the jewelry industry today,” reads the filing.
The suit says that Yurman and Mejuri products do not overlap in the same market categories and do not share any retailers. The filing is adamant that Mejuri did not copy Yurman and that multiple jewelry labels, including Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Missoma, also distribute a similar twist motif. It also includes photos of gold jewelry produced by ancient societies that have been sold at esteemed auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
In its argument against Yurman’s allegations, Mejuri attached a portion of the mood board that its chief creative officer Justine Lançon referenced when creating the Croissant Dôme collection. The reference board is a mosaic of different croissants, featuring the baked good photographed from different angles and does not include any jewelry.
“When stripped of its rhetoric and ad hominem attacks, Yurman’s Complaint is revealed for what it is — an improper attempt to suppress an innovative competitor and to claim ownership of well-known, common motifs — like twist designs — that have been used in jewelry since at least the Roman Empire,” the suit says.
Courtesy of David Yurman'
A Mejuri spokesperson told WWD in a statement about the filing: “David Yurman’s lawsuit is an attempt to bully an emerging female-founded competitor, monopolize classic design motifs used for centuries, and prevent competition from one of the fastest-growing fine jewelry brands in a rapidly evolving industry.
“Mejuri has no desire to associate itself with Yurman or its products, and we are confident that our customers know what they are buying and who they are buying it from. Contrary to a litigious approach that chooses confrontation over collaboration, Mejuri lifts up creators and takes pride in our continued contributions to make the industry more accessible and equitable for everyone.”
Jay Neukom, Yurman’s attorney on the case, said in a statement to WWD: “It’s common for companies caught copying others’ designs to argue that the design is free for the taking. Mejuri’s weak attempt to excuse its conduct by citing the Roman Empire and its own corporate mission statement does not change the facts. Yurman’s complaint has side-by-side pictures that show how Mejuri’s “in-house” designs mimic David Yurman, Boucheron and Lagos. We look forward to making this misconduct even clearer as the case proceeds.”
As part of its filing, Mejuri is asking the court to determine that Yurman does not hold a right to the design intellectual property it claims as trade dress, and that Mejuri itself has not infringed on any intellectual property rights. The brand is also requesting that its attorney fees be compensated.