Van Cleef & Arpels' vintage four-leaf clover design, known as the "Alhambra," has proven lucky for the jewelry giant -- and, until lately, for many others as well. In October, New York Times reporter Alex Kuczynski wrote a feature on the popular style, noting:
Knockoffs are rampant. A New York socialite I know had her Alhambra necklace made on 47th Street for a quarter of the retail price. Heidi Klum appropriated the clover design for the jewelry she designs for Mouawad, and Web sites such as Overstockjeweler.com offer copies for $180.
Even the usually skeptical writer herself succumbed to the design's allure -- albeit in the form of a cheaper knockoff.
Van Cleef, however, is not flattered. In the latest in a series of legal actions against various alleged copyists, the company has sued both Heidi Klum's eponymous company and Mouawad. (Complaint to follow, along with any eventual answer -- which will presumably claim that the design is generic.)
UPDATE: Here is the complaint.