CARTIER AND TIFFANY
Cartier, the French luxury jewellery company, has recently sued Tiffany & Co., accusing them of trade secrets misappropriation.
Allegedly, as stated in the lawsuit filed at a Manhattan Court, Tiffany hired an ex-employee from Cartier, in order to obtain relevant information regarding a high-jewellery collection in which she was involved. According to the French company, it is not the first time that a similar practice has been performed by Tiffany, as they hired an ex-employee who had signed a non-compete agreement, to work on Tiffany’s collection called “Blue Book”.
For this reason, they consider that Tiffany’s behaviour shows a “disturbing culture of misappropriating competitive information”.
As a consequence, Cartier is seeking an injunction to refrain Tiffany from using its trade secrets and to return the information unlawfully obtained, as well as economic compensation for the damages.
We will be monitoring closely until the outcome of this interesting case of (apparent) industrial espionage is available!
MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS (MWC) BARCELONA
As each year, the city of Barcelona gathers the biggest high-tech companies for the largest mobile event: the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Due to the high commercial interests and the valuable economic impact around this event, it is essential for its success to guarantee a quick response in case of any infringement, especially related to IP.
For this reason, the commercial courts of Barcelona and Alicante adopted for the seventh year a fast-track protocol for urgent IP proceedings within the MWC. More precisely, these courts deal with possible infringement cases regarding the products and technologies exhibited, as regards patents, trade marks, designs, copyright, trade secrets or acts of unfair competition and unlawful advertising.
Therefore, the fast-track protocol allows right holders to submit applications for protective letters, interim injunctions and hearings, in case of a possible infringement. Thanks to this, courts are forced to issue a decision in a very limited period of time (maximum of 24 hours for a protective letter; 48 hours for interim injunction and 10 days for hearings).
Notwithstanding, these procedural measures have a heavy impact on the successful exhibition of a product, as usually big companies take advantage of these events to launch their newest devices.
Therefore, if an ex-parte interim injunction request is admitted by the court, the judge could take the decision to ban a company from exhibiting its product, without giving it the chance to argue.
As an example, if a competitor believes that a product from another company is infringing its own product, it can sue for design infringement. While waiting for the hearing to take place, the competitor can ask the court to issue an ex-parte interim injunction, in order to prevent the exhibition of the contested product and also to limit the capacity of the defendant to argue.
Therefore, in order to minimise the risk of the adoption of ex-parte interim injunctions, the future defendant can submit an urgent request, by means of a protective letter. By doing this, the defendant can anticipate the claims of the plaintiff and has more chances of succeeding.
Unfortunately, those injunctions have been used in the past to prevent competitors from showing their newest devices. In the context of an event that takes place only a few days per year, such measures will automatically exclude a product from being exhibited in the MWC.
Consequently, this temporary fast-track procedure and the work of Barcelona and Alicante’s commercial courts during this event is of paramount importance, as they guarantee a quick and fair protection for the IP rights in play, and the immediate enforcement of the measures.
- Publication date
- 4 March 2022
- European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency