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Cartier Sees Success in E-Tail Suits

Cartier tallied two legal victories against several retailers selling imitation Cartier, Panerai and Piaget watches over the Internet.

NEW YORK — Cartier tallied two victories against several retailers selling imitation Cartier, Panerai and Piaget watches over the Internet.

In separate lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, the French luxury goods designer and manufacturer accused two online retailers of modifying authentic Cartier watches and selling them as upscale models. The lawsuits resulted in injunctions against the retailers.

According to the complaints, the online retailers obtained authentic Cartier watches, then added diamonds in a pattern that imitated the diamond placement of higher-end models. It was also alleged that stainless steel metal bands were polished to give the appearance of Cartier’s white gold models. The retailers could not be reached for comment.

These complaints deal with similar issues seen in another case being closely watched by retailers and suppliers in which Tiffany & Co. filed a claim against eBay in June saying the online auctioneer violated its trademarks by allowing sales of counterfeit Tiffany goods.

In an Aug. 27 ruling, Judge Richard C. Casey issued a permanent injunction against San Francisco-based The Finest Jewelry Inc., retailing under Thefinestjewelry.com, barring sales of the imitation Cartier and Piaget watches.

The case has been turned over to a U.S. magistrate judge to determine damages to be awarded.

According to the original complaint, filed Jun. 21, the retailers copied Cartier’s Panthere, Tank Française, Tank Americaine and Tank Divan designs, while copying Piaget’s Protocole and Tradition designs.

In a separate case, against Philadelphia-based TNS Diamonds Inc., which conducts retail operations through jewelers-row2.com and tnsdiamonds.com, Judge Lewis Kaplan issued a preliminary injunction halting the sale of any altered Cartier watches until the case is decided.

As laid out in the original complaint, filed Aug. 18, Cartier still seeks a permanent injunction, an undetermined amount in damages and that all altered watches and related advertising be handed over for destruction.

— Ross Tucker

This story first appeared in the September 7, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.