Claire's Response to Jewelry Plagiarism Charges

CLAIRES-TATTY-DEVINETatty Devine's website shows several suspiciously close comparisons between its jewelry designs and those of Claire's, a 3000-store retailer of jewelry and accessories. Tatty Devine's jewelry is high-end; the "dinosaur" necklace shown on the left side is handmade from bones and costs £132, while Claire's version is rubber and costs £4.

While the lawsuit is under way, social media activity rages on, and Claire's isn't handling it too well. The company has been criticized for deleted and ignoring Facebook comments, such as those below:


Claire's also took two days before responding to the plagiarism charge, which had already received support on Tatty Devine's blog. Finally, Claire's posted this statement on its Facebook page:

"Claire's Stores, Inc. is a responsible company that employs designers, product developers and buyers, and works with many suppliers to provide innovative collections that bring customers all the latest fashion trends. As such, we take any allegations of wrong doing seriously. We are looking into the matters raised."

One blogger described the statement this way: "The response is a stiff corporate apology that appears to dismiss the concerns expressed by their consumers."

PR expert Scott Douglas suggests this as a better approach:

"The pictures show remarkable similarities, and clearly that's upset a lot of people. We understand those reactions. That's why we are determined to get to the bottom of what happened and launched an immediate investigation. We promise to keep you updated."

I wonder how Claire's lawyers would like that response.

Discussion Starters:

  • Compare Claire's response and proposed response. What are the benefits-and the risks-of each?
  • What principles should Claire's follow when addressing social media comments?