"Unfortunately, I did have a partner who ... maybe wasn't as knowledgeable in terms of setting up a business. I worked five years very hard on that. But we stopped because we had a lawsuit with Van Cleef & Arpels — they wanted to have the clover, even though our designs had never matched, I don't know how may designs I had done in five years, maybe 800 different designs — but they just wanted to own the clover motif. So they went after everyone who does that — Louis Vuitton! — they said, "We own the clover." And I was like, "Then who's the person with the clover and the person with the heart?" I think when you're a small company, which we are, we're not a Van Cleef — they have a thousand lawyers. I'm a small fry next to that."
But this is great way to bow out of the market if you're failing -- victim rather than failure. The lawsuit was for a relatively small amount ($75k).
According to New York Post article from December 2007, Heidi Klum's line of clover-shaped pendants are really sham-rocks, according to a federal lawsuit that accuses the supermodel and television star of selling illegal knockoffs.
The suit filed in Manhattan federal court alleges that Klum ripped off Parisian jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels' trademark Alhambra pieces, which bear a clover-shaped design.
"This design has been extensively promoted by VCA in the United States and has achieved significant sales success," the suit reads.
The suit claims Klum and jewelry maker Mouawad USA "appropriated this design and incorporated it into their jewelry line, attempting to appropriate the good will built by Van Cleef & Arpels to create their own 'symbol.' "
Lawyers for Van Cleef & Arpels filed the suit Dec. 21, seeking unspecified damages of more than $75,000 for copyright infringement, unfair competition and other claims.