Cartier sued Tiffany & Co., accusing its rival of stealing trade secrets regarding its high-end jewelry from an employee it lured away in December.
According to the lawsuit, Cartier’s complaint detailed an episode in which Tiffany’s upper management allegedly sought to address “disarray” in its high-end jewelry division by hiring one of Cartier’s junior managers for a position she was not qualified to fill – a move the plaintiff said was solely motivated by a desire for information about Cartier’s “High Jewelry” collection, which includes individually made pieces that range as high as $10 million in price.
The complaint alleges that the ex-employee, Megan Marino, forwarded confidential information about Cartier’s High Jewelry collection to her personal email account days before she resigned from the company. Once Marino was hired by Tiffany & Co., she provided the confidential information to executives at her new employer. Cartier claims its investigation into the case has “opened a window into Tiffany’s disturbing culture of misappropriating competitive information.”
In an affidavit attached to the complaint, Marino admitted to forwarding confidential information about Cartier’s operation, including pricing information and internal presentations about the High Jewelry collection, to her personal email. The information was later provided to her manager at Tiffany.
Marino was fired from her new job in February, only weeks after she started, 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. Marino added that she believed Tiffany management was “more interested in hiring me as a source of information than as a High Jewelry manager.”
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 at Tiffany’s and bring confidential information with her. That suit settled the following year.
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