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People Staff
December 28, 2007 AT 04:00 PM EST

Last week, jewelry company Van Cleef & Arpels filed a suit against Heidi Klum in Manhattan’s federal court for copyright infringement, alleging that the German supermodel, 34, stole their idea to create her famous clover design.

The company’s Alhambra collection design is a four-leafed clover, just like the accessory line on the market from the companies Heidi Klum GmbH and Mouawad USA. The papers filed by Van Cleef & Arpels claim that the similarity causes “confusion in the marketplace.”

Designer Pascal Mouawad, head of the company Klum works with, defended himself when faced with the accusations. “We believe this claim has no merit. It’s clear that shapes like clovers, hearts, crosses, etc, are universal symbols and are commonly used in jewelry,” he told People.com. “Heidi has been wearing her pieces on Project Runway (Bravo) and we’ve seen them become quite popular. The clover has always been in fashion and you can see that many other luxury jewelry houses have their own interpretations of this wonderful shape such as Louis Vuitton and Chopard.” Mouawad added.

Klum explains on her website that the inspiration for the clover design came to her while visiting the Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy, where she saw a beautiful marble inlay.

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