Forget the FTC or GIA. The new created-diamond battle may be over intellectual property.
In an interview during the week of the 13th Mai, executives at WD Lab Grown Diamonds said they believe that certain competitors are infringing on the company’s licensed patents for growing diamonds using chemical vapor deposition (CVD)—and they might take some retailers to court over it.
Since 2011, WD has licensed the diamond-growing technology developed by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which has an ownership stake in the company.
“What Carnegie did is they established the conditions that you could [grow diamonds] to a reasonable size,” says WD president and founder Clive Hill. “That is patented. We [believe] that you cannot grow CVD outside those conditions.”’
Carnegie’s portfolio of patents also involve post-growth treatment of CVDs using annealing.
While WD has sent warning letters in the past, Hill says it is now taking its efforts to a new, “more significant” level.
“We have sat down and assessed possible costs,” says Hill. “If we have to end up in court, we will end up there.… We have spent a lot of money on this. We are working with [law firm] Perkins Coie. Within a very short period of time we will start some action with some retailers.”
Among the companies it has in its sights: big retailers, manufacturers of growing equipment, and a few smaller players.
“Hopefully we can pick one or two, and people will cooperate with us a bit better,” he says. “We want to work with people. That is our modus operandi. But we want it to be fair. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. We think that retailers, particularly the significant retailers, will want to make sure that happens.”
The company is now able to pursue this avenue because of the capital infusion it received from Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital Partners late last year.