The news is not good for Tiffany and Company, a subsidiary of LVMH. First, there were the Pharrell Williams eyeglasses that led to outrage in India, and now Cartier is bringing suit.
High-end Tiffany items are created by a small subset of Tiffany creators. Typically, these employees work together to brainstorm new ideas for stunning pieces that fetch upwards of 10million USD. One employee in this elite group was accused of stealing ideas from her previous employer – Cartier.
Since the suit was filed, Tiffany fired the employee in question (looks like an admission of guilt to me) but denies any company wrongdoing. Cartier continues to press the suit saying that the fired employee was not the only problem. Cartier insists that higher-ups at Tiffany are now complicit in the theft of the intellectual property and because the secrets are out, Cartier has lost the potential income that would have been generated by the creation of these potential products.
Despite the legal trouble, LVMH has been working alongside Cartier and Prada for the past year. Together the three brands are attempting to weed out counterfeiters internationally. I have to wonder how this suit will strain those efforts.