February 13th, 2020 – Rapaport
A court has awarded a limited victory to De Beers’ synthetic-diamond production unit in a patent dispute with Singapore-based grower IIa Technologies.
IIa infringed an Element Six patent related to diamond material that’s usable for lab-grown diamond jewelry and industrial applications, according to a High Court of Singapore judgment Friday. However, another Element Six patent for post-growth color treatment is invalid, judge Valerie Thean also ruled.
“We will continue to be vigilant for any other potential infringement of our [intellectual-property] rights around the globe,” Element Six CEO Walter Hühn said in a statement Friday. “We will defend our rights vigorously — just as any company would — because protecting our ability to get a full return on our investment in [research and development] is vital to our future.”
UK-based Element Six produces synthetic diamonds for De Beers’ lab-grown jewelry brand, Lightbox, and supplies diamond material for industrial and technological uses. The patent it successfully defended, SG 872, was relevant to optical applications such as infrared spectroscopy and high-power laser optics, as well as to the creation of stones for jewelry, De Beers explained.
IIa, which grows CVD goods for distributor and sister company Pure Grown Diamonds (PGD), must stop making, using, importing or maintaining possession of products that infringe patent SG 872, Thean ordered. She also called for the cancellation of Element Six’s patent SG 508, which relates to the annealing of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamonds.
“IIa Technologies has developed its proprietary process in the last 15 years, and is proud of the work we have done to bring lab-grown diamonds to the world,” Vishal Mehta, IIa’s CEO, said in a separate statement. “The current judgment will be considered in its entirety, and then the company will take necessary steps to protect its interests.”
The lawsuit, which Element Six filed in 2016, comes amid heightened patent-related legal activity in the synthetic-diamond sector. Last month, WD Lab Grown Diamonds sued six companies — including IIa and PGD — accusing them of infringing its patents for synthesis and treatment.