By Brecken Branstrator
New York—A lawsuit filed by Adwar Casting in New York state against a company it alleged was knocking off its designs has been dismissed for jurisdiction reasons.

Rockville Centre, New York-based Adwar filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in October 2017 against Star Gems, a wholesale manufacturer and seller of jewelry products based in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Georgia, and its president and CEO, Anish Desai.

The company alleged that Star Gems used two of Adwar’s copyrighted pieces of artwork without permission—one a picture of a ring and the other of a pendant—and began marketing and selling jewelry using them.

This week, U.S. District Judge Denis R. Hurley ruled the case be dismissed for “lack of personal jurisdiction,” court documents show.

Personal jurisdiction refers to the power of a court to hear and rule on a lawsuit involving a defendant due to the defendant having had some contact with the place where the court is located; in this case, New York.

Attorneys for Star Gems argued that jurisdiction doesn’t exist since the company isn’t incorporated in New York but, rather, Georgia and doesn’t maintain its principal place of business here.

Star Gems also contended that jurisdiction doesn’t exist over Desai since he lives in Georgia and, the company noted, no complaints in the case included any alleged knock-off activity occurring in New York, including jewelry being sold, advertised or offered in the state or to any of its residents.

Adwar argued that the place of “injury” in the case is New York because Star Gems “retrieved the images of the ring and the [pendant] from Adwar’s website and digitally downloaded them to Star’s computer,” court papers state, then allegedly reproduced the artwork and displayed the images on social media, linking to a website offering customers the ability to freely access the work.

In finding in favor of Star Gems and Desai the judge ruled that there were no allegations that sales causing “injury” occurred in New York. Rather, Adwar merely argued that it had lost and continued to lose income because of the alleged infringement, which doesn’t constitute “injury to person or property within the state,” court papers state.

The judge’s ruling also noted that the fact that the images at issue were allegedly uploaded to the internet does not warrant a finding of in-state injury.

Desai told National Jeweler this week: “We are glad that the judge has dismissed the entire case against Star Gems, as the claim had no merit to begin with,” and said he is thankful for the retailers who continue to support his business.

Adwar Chief Financial Officer Keith Adwar said they disagree with the judge’s decision but rather than appealing it in New York federal court, the company instead will refile the suit in Georgia. He said Adwar hopes to do so soon.

When Adwar sued Star Gems last year, the company also filed a lawsuit against Interjewel USA and Mercury Ring. That case was settled in February.

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