Sunday 25 August 2019

Brothers behind famous Claddagh rings company that makes €4m per year clash in court

Famous: The Claddagh Ring made by the firm at centre of dispute
Famous: The Claddagh Ring made by the firm at centre of dispute

Aodhan O'Faolain

A dispute between members of a family whose firm sells and makes jewellery, including the world-famous Claddagh rings, has come before the High Court.

The row involves brothers Andrew and Philip Fried, who are shareholders of Claddagh Jewellers.

The company markets itself as "the home of the authentic Claddagh Ring" and employs 30 people and has a turnover of €4m per year.

Their father, Laszlo Fried, who emigrated to Ireland from Hungary, established a separate jewellery business known as Lazlo Jewellers in Dublin in the 1960s.

Andrew Fried, of An Leac Lian, Barna, Co Galway, has brought proceedings against Philip, who he claims has in conjunction with his father Laszlo, who is not a shareholder or director of the firm, attempted to interfere with and frustrate the company's business.

It is claimed Philip, along with his father, had for some time been interfering with the company's suppliers.

There is also a dispute between the parties over €100,000 worth of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and gems which were allegedly removed from the company by Philip and are currently being held in a safe at a related company.

Andrew is seeking orders from the court including one prohibiting his brother and others from contacting the company's suppliers, and that either Philip sells him his stake in the company or buys him out.

The claims are denied.

In separate but related proceedings against Andrew Fried and Claddagh Ring Ltd, Philip Fried of Thornberry, Barna, Co Galway, claims he is the sole owner of the trademark "Claddagh Jewellers".

In that action, Philip is seeking various orders and declarations including one restraining his brother and the company from infringing what he (Philip) claims is his trademark.

The dispute has been mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on a number of occasions over the last number of weeks. She initially granted an order preventing the media from reporting on the case.

After mediation had to date failed to resolve the dispute, and arising out of the bringing of further proceedings concerning the trademark, the judge lifted the order.

Noting the dispute involved members of the same family, she encouraged the parties to try to mediate their differences.

The matter was adjourned.

Irish Independent

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