Judge in Ohio turns down Sterling Jewelers application to halt Zale Corp ad campaign

A federal judge in Ohio has turned down a request by Sterling Jewelers Inc. to ban an advertising campaign by retail jewelry giant Zale Corp. which claims its diamonds have superior levels of brightness.

Sterling Jewelers Inc., a subsidiary of Signet Jewelers Ltd., submitted a lawsuit in November charging Zale with false advertising when it claimed its Celebration Fire diamonds were the "most brilliant diamonds in the world."

In its suit, Sterling says the diamonds it sells are as bright as those sold by Zale, according to the results of tests that it carried out.

Sterling had applied to the court for a preliminary injunction in a bid to put a halt to Zale Corp's advertising campaign just as the crucial Christmas holiday sales season was beginning.

U.S. District Judge John R. Adams rejected Sterling's request for a preliminary injunction, saying the jeweler had not been able to prove that the advertisements would cause it to suffer severe harm even in the event that it eventually won in court after a trial.

"Its harm, at most, would be lost sales and possibly lost customers – both items that could be remedied through an award of monetary damages," the judge writes in his judgment.

Not surprisingly, Zale Corp said it was pleased with the judge's decision.

However, Sterling said its lawsuit would continue. "We continue to believe in the strength of the merits of our case, and we are moving forward according to the court's schedule," says David A. Bouffard, a spokesman for Signet in comments cited by The Wall Street Journal.

A trial date for the case has yet to be determined.