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LABORATORY-GROWN DIAMONDS

SIX LABORATORY-GROWN DIAMOND PRODUCERS BEING SUED IN U.S. COURTROOM FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

A lawsuit just filed in a federal courtroom in the Southern District of New York has underscored how different the laboratory-grown diamond business is from the natural diamond industry. 

The Carnegie Institution of Washington, an organization founded in 1902 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie for scientific discovery, has filed lawsuits against six producers of the laboratory-grown diamonds, alleging infringements of patents for growing synthetic diamonds and annealing technologies that it has earlier registered. It is joined in the suit by M7D Corp., which is known in the industry as WD Lab Grown Diamonds

One of the two patents involves a method of growing diamonds using chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Among the two dominant methods used at present, it involves feeding gases into a chamber and energizing them, allowing the growth of diamond crystals over relatively large areas on various substrates, with good control over chemical impurities.

The second diamond synthesizing method that is popularly used is High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT). It simulates the condition by which carbon is crystalized into natural diamonds deep below the earth’s surface. Here carbon seeds are placed in press, which is structured to concentrate and sustain tremendous pressure in a small area, while temperatures were raised to more than 2,750 degrees Celsius.

ALLEGEDLY TWO PATENTS INFRINGED

According to the suits filed in the Manhattan courtroom, the six laboratory-grown diamond producers have violated two patents held by Carnegie, to which M7D holds the licenses.

According to the three complaints, the patents at issue are “well-known in the lab-grown diamond industry and in particular are well-known by lab-grown diamond manufacturers, importers, and sellers.”

As reported by JCK Online, patent number 6,858,078 describes a method for producing CVD diamonds using a microwave-plasma process. 

The second patent, RE41189, outlines a method for improving a diamond’s visual qualities using high-pressure, high-temperature treatment, and can be used on natural diamonds as well. Known as annealing, it is a permanent process by which the color grade of yellow and brownish colored stones can be upgraded.

Carnegie Institution of Washington, which is one of the two organizations filing suits against six laboratory-grown diamond producers, is a body for scientific discovery founded in 1902 by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

 CVD diamond crystals.

PLAINTIFFS DEMAND THAT ROYALTIES BE PAID

In their suits filed against the six companies Carnegie and MD7 do not demand that defendants suspend production, but rather that they pay royalties for any past sales involving diamond produced using their technologies.

“We want to make sure that quality and integrity remain pillars of this industry,” said Sue Rechner, WD’s CEO told JCK’s Rob Bates. “To that end, WD is open to entering business arrangements that will maintain industry integrity. But if we can’t make those arrangements, we will see this through.”

“We are very serious about protecting our rights and our investment,” she said. “The decision to start litigation is not one any company takes lightly. It’s typically a last resort. We don’t want to go into litigation, but if we must, we must.”

It is not the first time than an intellectual property lawsuit involving lab-grown diamonds has been filed. In 2016, De Beers’ synthetic diamond subsidiary Element Six sued a laboratory-grown diamond company for patent infringement. The company in question denied that any infringement had taken place.