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Heidi's New Show -- "Project Ripoff"?

12/28/2007 9:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Luxury jewelry designer Van Cleef and Arpels is suing Heidi Klum, claiming that her jewelry company ripped off one of their vintage designs. Can they pin it on her?!
Read the lawsuit
The suit, filed last week in Manhattan federal court, claims that Heidi Klum GmbH and Mouawad USA created and sold a similar clover design from Van Cleef's vintage Alhambra jewelry line. Wait, you can trademark a clover? Notre Dame better watch their back!

Van Cleef and Arpels allege the design is such an obvious copy that it creates "confusion in the marketplace." The lawsuit sites a New York Times article about the Alhambra line from October that says, "Heidi Klum appropriated the clover design for jewelry she designs for Mouawad."

Van Cleef and Arpels is suing for copyright infringement and is seeking damages in excess of $25,000. But that's not all! They want all the infringing goods turned over for destruction -- as well as all advertising materials, catalogs and circulars. Snap!

UPDATE: A rep for Mouawad tells TMZ: "The inspiration for Heidi's collection is the clover-patterned marble inlay at the Duomo Cathedral in Milan which dates back centuries before the formation of Van Cleef & Arpels. Their lawsuit has no merit whatsoever. A number of international houses such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier and now Chopard with their Happy Clover collection are all using their interpretation of the clover in their collections.

"Our collection is another interpretation of the clover motif. The clover as in a cross or heart is not a shape or symbol that anyone company can own. The clover has always been in fashion and it is a popular motif."

27 COMMENTS

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1.

Poetical    

Don't worry seal got her back. People just can't be original :(

2305 days ago
2.

Party 'till you die!    

More typical 'I sue someone, anyone!' crap! Yup, frivolous, greedy lawsuits are killing America! We're probably doomed anyway! Have a nice day, minions!

2305 days ago
3.

notkissinadogthatlicksbutt    

Why do designers in this world think they have a patent on everything? It's a CLOVER!!! What is this world coming to? Lawyers will help people sue over anything to get rich!

2305 days ago
4.

Ramma Jamma Alabama    

HOTT, take your ass to another site for your spamming. Noone gives a rats ass about your site or whatever it may be.

Another idiot trying to make some quick cash. I really don't think you can trademark a clover. Geez, there are some stupid and greedy people in the world.

Oh, and why would Heidi marry someone as F-UGLY as Seal? I really don't get it!

2305 days ago
5.

roughdaddy    

lol "can they pin it on her" clever!!!

2305 days ago
6.

Betsy    

WHA'TS VINTAGE? EVERYONE IS DOING THE 60 LOOK, IS THAT A RIPOFF? i DON'T THINKTHERE IS AN ORIGINAL IDEA IN SIGHT. i THINK THEY ARE BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE. THE SHOW IS A HIT AND EVERYONE WANTS TO GET IN ON IT. bETTY

2305 days ago
7.

Party 'till you die!    

I saw Seal a long, long time ago, just after he became famous! It was in a small, intimate club and in between songs, he would have short discussions back and forth with the audience. He was super friendly and very talented! Always smiling and it wasn't false. I still remember how when everyone was filing out after the show, you could hear Everyone talking about what a great person he was and how talented he is! If he is even half as cool as he was on stage, then I hope nothing but good things happen to this wonderful man! He's a cool dude in my book!

2305 days ago
8.

Jen    

I own a Heidi Klum clover pendant, with a small blue topaz stone in the center. After looking at the lawsuit, and seeing the pictures of VanCleef''s jewelry - I really don't know what the big deal is. In my opinion, Heidi's is better looking, and has a more defined "clover" look to it. And like everyone is saying, IT'S A CLOVER, a nature-born creation, which should never have been allowed to be ocpyrighted in the first-place, and I bet that the VanCleef copyright has more to do with a stamp or reference to the VanCleef name, not the clover itself. This is a completely frivolous lawsuit and VanCleef is just upset that Heidi has more pull with the consumer these days, and her items are probably well below the prices that VanCleef is charging for similar pieces.

I love my Heidi Klum necklace, and I wouldn't trade it for a crappy VanCleef anything!!!

2305 days ago
9.

valid suit    

I'm glad to see Van Cleef finally taking action. Her designs are a total rip off of classic designs. While many of you are saying it's a clover and shouldnt be protected - it's not any different than copying tiffany's elsa pareti heart. Heck - chanel's "c"'s are just "c"'s - why shouldnt anyone be able to put 2 c's on a bag??????

2305 days ago
10.

Exene    

Van Cleef, Cartier and other proprietary jewelry design firms have a huge stake in maintaining the copyright of their designs, as they increase the cachet of the brand and definitely the resale value. You may think Van Cleef is "crappy," but the entire world of high end jewelry would disagree with you. Try to resell that Heidi pendant and you'll get nothing for it. Try to resell anything in the Alhambra (correct name) collection of Van Cleef and there'll be some cash, even if it's just a simple bracelet or necklace. The value is not in the gold, it's in the design itself.

Personally, I think it's really lame of Mouawad to copy Van Cleef. They could easily have come up with something more original. Mouawad (originally Lebanese) is a second-rate jewelry house if compared to Van Cleef or Cartier, which are at the top. A first-rate jewelry house would never partner with anyone "famous" to peddle their things. With first rate, think Van Cleef, Cartier, Bulgari, Harry Winston, even Tiffany. Tiffany uses the name of designers such as Paloma PIcasso or Jean Schlumberger, and in that case their unique designs also command higher resale/auction prices. It's all reflected in auction and resale prices. An item from Van Cleef of equal intrinsic value will always command more than one from Mouawad. This whole endeavor is just so that Heidi and Mouawad can make some spinoff profits.

For anyone to state that Van Cleef is "crappy," I'd suggest going in to one of their stores or just hit up the auctions or read their catalogs. Van Cleef is classified as "important" jewelry. What's Heidi's line...nothing, a copy. Try to sell any of it at Sotheby's or Christie's and you'll be the laughing stock of the day. By the way, I'm not a representative for Van Cleef, but I do own some of their jewelry...and I'm extremely happy about it.

2305 days ago
11.

dana    

EXENE-
They ar enot trying to sell it for the prices Van Cleef sell it for, for christsake, they are selling the designs on QVC, I highly doubt anyone who is purchasing it is thinking it is Van Cleef or will try to resell it as an Van Cleef. The design is not exactly like Can Cleef, they have altered it and it sells for under $50, HUGE difference.

2305 days ago
12.

Exene    

Response to HOLY CRAP,
You are simply WRONG. Go to Mouawad's website and you'll see for yourself. The Heidi Klum collection includes earrings for appx USD 6,000 and everything inbetween. They are not just selliing on QVC, they are selling in retail stores. The issue is not that the purchaser believes it's Van Cleef, it's a legal copyright issue and it should absolutely be addressed by Van Cleef. They may have altered a millimeter in either direction on the clover design itself, but to the untrained eye it still looks like VCA, and that's exactly what Mouawad is banking on. And therefore they should be stopped. Clearly, this is not the right forum to argue this, as most people on TMZ have no clue about VCA. Nevertheless, a copyright issue is a copyright issue is a copyright issue, and that's what VCA's argument is all about.

2305 days ago
13.

Jen    

Thanks Holy Crap for putting these idiots in their place - I wouldn't try to pass off my necklace as Van Cleef, mainly because there are differences that anyone could see. Exene just thinks that because she can afford to own Van Cleef items, that the rest of us, who would prefer to spend less on jewelry and more on more important life goals, are beneath her. She obviously likes to point out the fact that she "can" and we "can't" - sad really. Some people just buy jewelry to enjoy it, not to flaunt it.

Exene - go ahead and take your Van Cleef items and shove them up your ass - if Van Cleef is so secure in their jewelry, a little competition shouldn't even phase them - they have the money to fight this, but their "deep pockets" better be ready to defend a symbol of Ireland, good luck and minty shakes at McDonalds - what makes the clover different than a shamrock -no stem? This is the stupidest lawsuit I've ever heard of and I'm sticking with that. And by the way, I think the double Cs are a trademark, not a copyright, there is a big difference in how those two are handled legally - copyrights are only good for so long - they can 't be permanent.

2305 days ago
14.

valid suit    

Jen:

Baed on your argument, it should be ok for any celebrity to knock off Cartier's love bracelet snce it's a copyright and not a trademark. Also, it's ok to infringe on a copyrght when the copyrighted original is expensive????

2305 days ago
15.

Old School    

Who show is yet ANOTHER ripoff from American Idol with the 3 judges and who is going to be eliminated so why wouldn't she also rip off designs from another company...get out of this country little girl and go to China who will appreciate another ripp off artist like yourself and if i hear another "Vita Zane" i think I'll throw my tv out the window this is America so please talk english!

2305 days ago
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