Hublot Wants "Red Gold" Trademark Invalidated, Apple Tries to Poach

Hublot was in court last week. The Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy subsidiary asked a California district judge to dismiss a trademark infringement suit filed by jeweler Chris Aire. The Beverly Hills-based jeweler filed suit against 17 watch brands, including Rolex, LVMH on behalf of Hublot and Louis Vuitton, Breitling, and Chopard, among others, for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false description, and injunctive and declaratory relief in 2010.

The trademark at issue: Aire's trademark for “Red Gold,” which was federally registered in 2003 and subsequently renewed a year ago, and covers watches and other jewelry. According to Aire's complaint, "This is a classic David versus Goliath. We've done everything that is required of us to protect the integrity of our Red Gold brand … Just because you're a huge brand doesn't mean you're above the law.  This brand is proprietary to us and we've worked extremely hard to make it famous and now they're jumping all over it without our permission."

Additionally, Aire's 2010 complaint states: "His cutting edge designs are known for their creativity and craftsmanship, earning the Nigerian-born designer such monikers as the "Kingof Bling," "Emperor of Ice" and "The Ice Man." He has been featured in USA TODAY, Rolling Stone, Newsday, Robb Report, AOL's Black Voices, and Vogue Japan."

As of this past week, Hublot of America's legal team moved for summary judgement (essentially asking the court to rule in its favor before the parties go to trial) on Aire's trademark infringement claim, as well as its own counterclaim, which seeks to invalidate Aire's mark, citing decades of evidence, which reportedly show the mark is generic and should be canceled.

In other news, Jean-Claude Biver, the president of LVMH’s watches and jewelry division, spoke out late last month saying that Apple tried to poach several of his employees from company brands like Hublot. “Apple has contacted some of my employees – I saw the emails personally,” Mr Biver told a Swiss publication, claiming that all those who had been contacted refused the iPhone maker’s advances. He also stated that Apple had contacted other manufacturers that design precision parts that go inside of LVMH’s watches.