David Yurman filed a lawsuit this morning in the Southern District of New York against direct-to-consumer jeweler Mejuri, alleging that the brand has copied several of its “iconic” designs, as well as those from other jewelers, labeling them a “serial copyist.”
The filing says that the Yurman brand hopes to put an end to Mejuri’s alleged “illegal practices and obtain compensation for Mejuri’s violations.”
The Yurman brand claims that Toronto-based Mejuri has confused customers and alleges it has damaged the, “substantial goodwill that David Yurman has diligently built over four decades,” by issuing designs that it feels are too aesthetically similar to Yurman originals. It also claims that Mejuri has hired the same model as Yurman, and dressed them in the same jewelry that they allege are “copied.”
The suit claims that one such design, the Yurman “Pure Form Cable Bracelet,” a gold bangle with a twisted motif that retails for nearly $5,000, is innately similar to Mejuri’s Croissant Dôme Bracelet. That style, which is no longer available on Mejuri’s e-commerce site, was made of gold vermeil and retailed for $120.
Mejuri currently offers an entire Croissant Dôme line, including a cuff bracelet, earrings and rings made of vermeil, 14-karat gold, sterling silver and diamonds. David Yurman’s twisted helix cable line is vast and began early in the brand’s history, around 1980, with designs developed to resemble industrial cable cords, but made of precious metals.
The suit also alleges that Mejuri’s other Croissant Dôme designs, like stackable rings and hoop earrings, infringe on Yurman’s Pure Form line’s trade dress hallmarks.
Yurman says its Pure Form trade dress is “a composite of various distinct features….and is unique in the jewelry industry.” These hallmarks include rings designed to be stackable, a sculptural silhouette, and “bold, voluminous design.” The range was launched in August 2017.
“After David Yurman spent significant resources to design, manufacture, market and sell its Pure Form Cable Bracelet, Mejuri released the Crôissant Dome Bracelet —improperly benefitting from the hundreds of millions of dollars that Yurman has spent advertising its jewelry and its signature cable motif,” read a press release announcing the complaint.
A Mejuri spokesperson issued the following statement: “The claims made by David Yurman are categorically false, and are fundamentally at odds with what we stand for and who we are as a brand. At Mejuri, we strive for a culture that lifts up creators, prioritizes transparency and empowers people and our community to proudly invest in themselves. We look forward to demonstrating that today’s accusations are entirely without merit, and believe that there is enough space in our industry for artists and jewelry designers to coexist and thrive together without baseless attacks on one another.”
Mejuri was founded in 2015 and is led by chief executive officer Nour Sakkijha. The brand, which has raised nearly $30 million in funding, has struck a chord with young people looking to buy themselves simple fine jewelry pieces and has been rapidly scaling over the past year by issuing higher-value designs and opening new global store locations. In September, Mejuri told WWD it had reached one million customers and had sold a total of two million pieces.
Recently instated David Yurman brand president, Evan Yurman, said of the suit in a statement: “At David Yurman, we celebrate the creativity of our peers in the industry who design their own jewelry, and we welcome competition from new and established designers alike. But we believe that competition should be fair, and unlawful copying is not good for the industry or its consumers, nor is it fair to our hard-working employees.”
As evidence, the Yurman claim also alleges that Mejuri copied other jewelers including Lagos and Boucheron. The suit alleges that Mejuri’s Charlotte ring and earrings bare similarity to Bucheron’s “Quatre” range while the company’s Caviar ring is a claimed copy of Lagos’ Caviar gold ring. Both Lagos and Boucheron declined to offer comment.
Yurman’s suit continues on to take issue with Mejuri’s quality and says that its alleged copies quickly tarnish or deteriorate. The jeweler also took issue with Mejuri’s work with model Emily Didonato, who Yurman partnered with for social media posts in Sept 2021. Yurman claims that 11 days after it tweeted images of Didonato wearing its jewelry, Mejuri posted the model on its Instagram page wearing Mejuri jewelry, “which was similar to the selfie featured by Yurman.”
The Yurman label is seeking damages, legal fees and for Mejuri to melt down and recycle any outstanding “infringing” merchandise.
This is not the first suit that the Yurman brand has filed over alleged copying of their product. In 2001, the company brought a suit against Texas-based jeweler PAJ Inc. which Yurman won on both counts of copyright and trade dress in a jury trial. Later in appeals court, the judgment of copyright infringement stood while trade dress was dropped.
On Sept. 23 of this year, Yurman received a judgment in its favor in the Northern District of Illinois against a dozen or so defendants on the matter of counterfeit. The company is set to receive a total of $200,000 in collective damages and had a permanent injunction put in place.