Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Cartier Sues Tiffany for ‘High Jewelry’ Trade Secrets Thefts

Jewelry sits on display in the Tiffany & Co. flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, U.S., on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Tiffany & Co. is scheduled to release earnings figures on March 16.

Cartier sued Tiffany & Co., claiming its competitor in the luxury jewelry space stole trade secrets about some of its most exclusive products with the help of a former employee.

Cartier, a division of Richemont North America Inc., sued Tiffany and Megan Marino, a former “junior manager” at Cartier in New York state court on Monday. According to the suit, Tiffany, which was acquired last year by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, hired Marino to work on its “high jewelry” collection, which includes individually made pieces that range as high as $10 million in price.

Marino downloaded confidential information about Cartier’s own high jewelry business before leaving the company and then passed it to her new colleagues after she joined Tiffany in November, the suit alleges. Cartier claims its investigation into the case has “opened a window into Tiffany’s disturbing culture of misappropriating competitive information.”

A Tiffany spokeswoman said in a statement: “We deny the baseless allegation and will vigorously defend ourselves.”

According to the suit, Marino was fired from her new job in February after Cartier informed Tiffany’s legal department about her conduct. But by then, more senior Tiffany executives had already gained “a substantial amount of Cartier’s confidential and trade secret information,” Cartier claims.

This isn’t the first time Cartier has accused a former employee of trying to steal trade secrets for Tiffany. In 2014, it sued a former advertising executive who allegedly tried to get her former assistant to join her Tiffany and bring confidential information with her. That suit settled the following year.

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