Hublot And Chris Aire Settle Important ‘Red Gold’ Lawsuit Out Of Court

For years now, there has been an on-going lawsuit in America wherein designer and jeweler Chris Aire of Chris Aire Jewelry & Watches, owned by Solid 21, has been suing brands for loosely using the term red gold — which he had trademarked and registered 16 years ago in 2002. Just last week one of the biggest cases — between Aire and Hublot — was settled out of court in what is most likely a victory for Aire.

Chris Aire, Hublot red gold lawsuit

Chris Aire Red Gold(R) Personalized dog tags are a staple in his collection, which runs the gamut from simple to haute joaillerie.

 In 2004, the Nigerian-born Aire — with a clientele of celebrities and sports stars — put on the first jewelry runway show during New York fashion week, with Naomi Campbell headlining.  The following year, May Andersen walked  Chris Aire’s runway wearing a $41 million Red Gold (R) dress set with diamonds that took 3000 hours to make. During that show, Wyclef Jean performed, as well, using a $500,000 diamond-coated guitar.

As he built his company, Aire legally coined the term Red Gold(R)  for his rich amber-red hued gold jewelry and watches. He built a sensational following thanks to his daring designs, his celebrity following and his incredible good nature. However, throughout the past near decade, many brands issuing press releases out of Europe and Switzerland began using red gold in their press releases and product descriptions to describe 5N rose gold.  “Red Gold(R)” — once associated strictly with Chris Aire and Solid 21 in America, was becoming a common term. Aire set about defending his trademark rights. One by one, he has been taking legal action against brands, with the most recent being Hublot. Now, Hublot and Chris Aire (on behalf of his company Solid 21) have settled their eight-year-long case behind closed doors just shortly before the schedule trial would take place in Los Angeles. This leads us to believe that it was a victorious settlement for Aire.

Red Gold lawsuit, Chris Aire, Hublot

Chris Aire of Chris Aire Jewelry and Watches, owned by Solid 21, has settled the Red Gold lawsuit against Hublot out of court.

The issue of the trademark and the registration is an important one, with many people questioning how Aire was able to register the color red. In fact, he registered “Red Gold” as it pertains to his jewelry and watches made of a specific alloy.  Let’s not forget that Le Vian — a way bigger company than Solid 21 —  has been able to register Chocolate Diamonds (R) and protect that registration. How does one register chocolate? You don’t. You register the words as a descriptive term for the jewelry collection.

In a joint statement issued by Hublot and Solid 21, the companies said “Hublot recognizes that Solid 21 has a registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the use of the phrase ‘red gold’ as a trademark in connection with watches and jewelry and that such registration has become incontestable under Section 15 of the Lanham Act.”

It was eight years ago that Chris Aire filed a lawsuit against 17 individual watch and jewelry companies for their use of “red god.” Hublot was just one of the 17. Several cases have settled out of court quietly, and others were put on a back burner as brands waited to see the results of  Solid 21’s suit against Breitling. In that suit, settled in 2013, there were still questions about whether or not Aire should have been able to register red gold.

The same contention held true in this Hublot case. Back in 2015, five years into their legal actions, a US district judge ruled on summary judgment for Hublot and ordered Solid 21’s trademark to be canceled.  Aire appealed and two years later, in 2017, the appeals court remanded the case back to the lower court because testimony on behalf of Solid 21 had not been considered. Now, with the Hublot case settled, as well, Aire will most likely continue his legal actions against other companies named in the original suit. Aire ,maintains that he should be given credit for popularizing the term Red Gold(R)  and that he should be able to defend his registered, trademarked property.

Author’s Note: It should be noted that I was called on during the trial preparations for a deposition as an expert witness in the watch industry. Additionally, I was the key writer working for Chris Aire back in the early 2000’s as he launched his brand, and was responsible for positioning the Red Gold)R)  collection in the industry. 

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