Twin Falls, Idaho–An independent jewelry store chain in the western United States is taking Zales to court.
Jensen Jewelers, which operates 14 stores in Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming, is alleging that the Signet Jewelers-owned corporation purchased a sponsored search result and advertisement via Google AdWords that read: “Jensen Jewelers – Black Friday 35% Off Storewide – zales.com” with a link that led to the Zales website.
Jensen states in the lawsuit that the ad was placed during the week leading up to Black Friday in 2016 and that it displayed if “Jensen Jewelers” was typed into the Google search engine.
Last month, Jensen’s attorneys filed a complaint and demand for jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, where the company is headquartered.
The complaint accuses Zales of unfair competition and false designation of origin, common law trademark infringement, common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
The various charges pertain to the ad falsely representing Zales’ goods as being affiliated with Jensen, which was “likely to cause confusion … or to deceive” as Jensen and Zales are “direct competitors in the jewelry marketplace,” the lawsuit states.
Jensen is seeking to be compensated the amount that Zales profited from the use of the former company’s name, as well as legal fees. Attorneys wrote in the complaint and demand for jury trial that evidence showing the exact amounts would presented at a potential trial.
National Jeweler reached out to Jensen Jewelers and Zales’ parent company, Signet Jewelers, and both companies said it was their policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.
Jensen Jewelers was originally owned by the Jensen family, who opened their first store in Twin Falls, Idaho in 1956. While the family’s involvement in the store ceased in 2006, the retailer is still privately owned and headquartered in Twin Falls, employing more than 100 people across the company.
Jensen is ranked No. 38 on National Jeweler’s list of the top 50 specialty jewelry stores in North America, which orders companies by store count.
Zales has stores in all 50 states and was founded in 1924.
Its parent company Signet Jewelers ranks No. 1 on National Jeweler’s list of the biggest jewelry sellers in North America, with an estimated $5.74 billion in jewelry and watch sales in 2016. It also occupies the top spot on the list of top 50 specialty jewelry stores.
According to Signet, in 2017, Zales Jewelers and Zales Outlet accounted for 20 percent of Signet’s overall sales and operated 744 stores in the United States, plus 7 in Puerto Rico.