March 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Blue Nile says a competitor illegally copied its web site product images

Blue Nile has sued Victoria’s Diamonds for allegedly illegally copying photographic images on BlueNile.com. A pre-trial hearing is set for April 26 in federal court.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Blue Nile Inc. has filed suit against Victoria’s Diamonds for allegedly illegally copying photographic images from BlueNile.com. Blue Nile’s suit asks the court for an injunction to prevent its online competitor from using the copyrighted product images. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has scheduled a pre-trial hearing for April 26.

The suit alleges that Victoria’s Diamonds, like Blue Nile an online jeweler, illegally copied product images that are copyrighted, intellectual property belonging to Blue Nile, No. 56 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The suit asks the court to stop Victoria’s Diamonds from using the disputed images, for compensation for any sales resulting from the use of the images and damages.

“No two diamond photographs are alike. As a result of diamonds’ qualities and the way they reflect light, every photograph of a diamond is as unique as a fingerprint,” the suit says. “Furthermore, the qualities of cut diamonds and the way diamonds reflect light makes them extremely difficult, costly and time-consuming to photograph.”

The suit also notes, “As an Internet-only enterprise, intellectual property is one of Blue Nile’s most important and most valued assets.”

Victoria’s Diamonds did not respond to a request for comment.

The district court directed both parties to prepare a joint status report of their positions in the dispute and to offer alternate means to resolve the case instead of going to trial. Options include mediation and arbitration.

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