David Yurman Enterprises sued Sam’s East Inc. and Sam’s West Inc., alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, tortious interference, and unfair competition in Houston federal court last week.
Yurman claims that Sam’s Club has engaged in the “wrongful, unauthorized promotion and sale of David Yurman-branded jewelry products” in Texas, throughout the country and even online at www.samsclub.com.
The luxury jewelry brand points out that Sam’s Club is not an authorized retailer for the David Yurman products, and therefore, the only way they were able to obtain any David Yurman products is by “inducing one or more Yurman authorized retailers to sell the products to Sam’s Club in violation of their Authorized Retailer Agreements.” Thus, Yurman is claiming that the retailer has committed tortious interference with its contractual relations, harming the luxury jeweler’s business.
Furthermore, Yurman is arguing that by selling David Yurman-branded products without the authorization of the company, the retailer has engaged in an unauthorized use of the David Yurman trademark as well, by using the mark “in connection with its promotion and sale of wrongfully acquired David Yurman jewelry products.” The jeweler claims that this creates a “false impression” on consumers that Sam’s Club is associated with Yurman.
The jewelry brand also stated in its complaint that Sam’s Club acquired and sold their products with the “full knowledge that Yurman sells its David Yurman jewlery products through an exclusive network of authorized retailers who receive specialized training regarding such products and the manner in which they are to be displayed and promoted.” This points to the impact that selling in a wholesale retailer could have on the brand’s value and reputation.