De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver Talks Lab Grown and Patent Suits.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver

De Beers chief executive officer Bruce Cleaver (pictured) talked with JCK Thursday, following the release of his company’s preliminary financial results for 2019. The results were, to no one’s surprise, not very good, with total revenue falling 24% and rough diamond sales falling 26%.

But Cleaver feels the market has begun to turn thecorner, and here he discusses his reaction to the ruling in his company’slab-grown and patent lawsuit.

Lab-grown remains a hot topic. Where do you see it going over the next year?

We still feel that it’s a perfectly legitimate category, butit’s not the same as the natural. There is no doubt that the lab-grown businesshad a good Christmas, but so did the natural. The key remains allowingconsumers to make the proper choice. I have no doubt the prices will continueto come down in the lab-grown space. That trend has already started in 2019.

With Lightbox, until we get the facility in Oregon up and running, I have little stock to sell elsewhere. The website has done very well.

What is your reaction to the court ruling from Singapore, regarding De Beers subsidiary Element Six’s ongoing patent litigation against IIa Technologies?

We are very pleased. We got a very robust judgment against IIa. It shows that we will protect our intellectual property. People should be very careful they are not buying from someone who is infringing on our patents. We have similar patents in the United States. We are now going through a range of options of what we will do in the United States.