April 20, 2014

Jewelry Design Theft Raised by Ronaldo Designer Jewelry Against Golden Stella in new Copyright Suit

Ronaldo Designer Jewelry (Ronaldo) asserts copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition and unfair trade practices under the Lanham Act, and unfair and deceptive trade practices under the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act against Golden Stella, Inc. ("Golden Stella") and 99 John Does (reproducers, manufacturers, copiers, importers, distributors, displayers, and sellers for or on behalf of Golden Stella, including agents).

The complaint identifies the infringing works, beginning with “The Power of Prayer Bracelet” pictured on page 4 of the complaint with the accused infringing products pictured on page 5. Pictured to the left below is the Ronaldo bracelet with the accused bracelets to the right.

The United States Copyright Office granted Ronaldo’s predecessor Registration VA 1-813-280 with an effective date of April 17, 2012.

On page 6 of  the complaint, Ronaldo pictured “The Wide Power of Prayer Bracelet” along with two accused Golden Stella products, respectively pictured on the left and right below:   

No separate copyright registration for “The Wide Power of Prayer Bracelet” was identified in the complaint.

On page 7 of the complaint, Ronaldo pictured the “Stackable Bracelet” (shown on the left below) and two accused Golden Stella bracelets (pictured on the right below):

The United States Copyright Office granted Ronaldo’s predecessor Registration VA 1-125-963 with an effective date of December 7, 2001, for a catalog containing this design.  An application for the specific design of this bracelet was filed on or about November 7, 2012.  [Exhibit K]

On pages 8 and 9 of the complaint, Ronaldo pictured the Waverly Bracelet (shown below on the left) and three allegedly infringing Golden Stella bracelets (pictured on the right below):

An application for copyright of the Waverly Bracelet was filed on or about April 12, 2012.  [Exhibit M].

On page 10 of the complaint, Ronaldo pictured the Pearl of My Heart bracelet (shown below on the left) and two allegedly infringing Golden Stella bracelets (pictured on the right below):

An application for copyright of the Pearl of My Heart bracelet was filed on or about April 20, 2012. [Exhibit P].

In Count II (Trade Dress and Unfair Competition), Ronaldo stressed that its handmade jewelry was distinctive and “immediately identifiable” and associated by the public with its brand – THE RONALDO COLLECTION®.  The common features, Ronaldo states, enhance compatibility and collectability for use together for a consistent look and feel.  The complaint describes these distinctive design features in detail as including:  “a combination of square, diamond and round cut 18-20 guage gold artist’s wire and sterling silver wire, which when used in a twisted form has approximately 8-10 twists per inch and use 18 gauge half round wrap to form the hook clasps.  The clasps have the distinctive, signature shape of a house, to meet the hook and eye sides of the closure. …”  The complaint describes these features as not being essential to the function of the jewelry.

Ronaldo jewelry designs, according to the complaint, have been promoted in over 50,000 catelogs, featured in Who’s Who in America, promoted on the Internet and at many trade shows and art fairs, as well as large retail stores such as Dillards, and have been “extensively advertised and promoted” for over two decades.

Ronaldo alleges that the infringement began in November 2012 and is deliberate and continuing and has caused irreparable harm.  Ronaldo seeks damages, including actual damages and profits or statutory damages, along with willfull copyright damages and trebled damages under the Lanham Act, and a temporary and permanent injunction.

The case is Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. v Golden Stella, Inc., No. 1:12-cv-132-TWT, filed 01/14/13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.

Copyright © 2014 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Kirk Watkins, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Business Litigation Attorney

Kirk manages and tries complex business litigation, patent and international arbitration disputes. He believes thorough preparation and strategic theme development result in successful trials or settlements.    


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