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Ciate Caviar Nails: Nail Polish Brand Steps on Bloggers Toes

August 2, 2012

Ciate threatens bloggers with legal action.

Everyday bloggers and fellow DIY nail enthusiasts talk about what is new on the nail polish racks. There are constantly new designs, new ideas, and even brand new companies popping up to represent them. With so much happening in the nail polish industry there is bound to be some clashing of teeth and butting of heads.

Bullyingly, Ciate, a top British nail polish company, threatened bloggers with legal action because they were sharing the truth about their ‘Caviar Nails’.

The truth is that Caviar Nails by Ciate are overpriced and the bloggers were letting people know that.

How could Ciate threaten the bloggers with legal action?

Ciate claim’s that they created the design. However, bloggers say that this design is not new but has been around for ages. But Ciate is the first to try to own the design and style by taking legal action to copyright the name “Caviar Nails”.

The gloves are out and the contention is hot regarding the property rights of the newest nail art/ nail polish trend.

Caviar nails are in fact one of the most simple nail designs out there. In order to do these nails all one has to do is paint their nails with two coats of polish and then sprinkle tiny microbeads on their nails. The beads stick to the nails and last for about 2 – 3 days…sometimes much less.

Why did Ciate take legal action against the bloggers?


Ciate’s caviar nails are very expensive. When you buy the product you get 1 bottle of polish and one small bottle of microbeads which are also called caviar beads. In the U.S.A the current price (as of 08/02/2012) is $25. The same exact products can be purchased for under $5.

The following nail bloggers – Nailasaurus, The Daily Varnish, Polish Police, Pretty Digits, and A Lacquered Affair called out Ciate on their overpriced product by creating DIY Caviar Nails tutorials for all the women that love the look but not the price.


Outraged over this, ciate sent some of these bloggers legal notices reading.

‘It has come to our attention that you are using the mark caviar manicure and/or caviar nails in relation to a manicure product/method of manicure.

‘Brand Agency Limited (Ciaté) own the trade marks caviar manicure and caviar nails and we are in the process of applying to register these mark around the world.

‘Therefore you should not use the trade marks caviar manicure and/or caviar nails unless they are used in relation to products or to a method of using products that are produced by Ciaté.

‘Please confirm once you have removed references to our trade marks from your website.’

Since no blogger would actually receive such a notice kindly there was obviously some toes stepped on and in fact a little smashed.

Polish Police, one of the bloggers that received this letter responded saying:

‘Applying to register a trademark is not the same as owning a trademark.

‘And I really did not like the sound of that letter. What was that part about “avoiding confusion from the point of view of our customers”?

‘Did they just mean they didn’t want people to know they can achieve the same manicure without splurging on their products?’

Ciate soon found out (they most likely already new) that they were not the first ones to use microbeads on nails.

Who did them before Ciate?

Since the explosion of conflict between Ciate and nail bloggers more stories have come out about how Ciate was not the first to do the caviar nail look. Pattie Yankee a celebrity nail technician also used this look at a Fashion Week for Mercedes Benz in Feb. of 2011. She got legal advice at the time that Ciate announced their new manicure. She didn’t pursue legal action as a result of the potential cost. Now is it really right that the original creators of a product or idea can’t get the rights because they don’t have deep enough pockets? Absolutely not!

Most nail bloggers don’t usually have deep pockets. They are usually moms at home, college students, or the average fashion enthusiast. Because of this the bloggers decided to simply call this design something else. What did they call it? ‘beluga bonanzas’ and ‘fish-egg manicures’.

How has Ciate responded?

Ciate’s official statement:

‘March 2012 saw the launch of Ciaté Caviar Manicure, at this time we were in the process of trade marking the name “Caviar Manicure” in order to protect our packaging, this is a standard procedure most products by brands worldwide will go through.

‘Unfortunately, during this sensitive period for us, seven bloggers who had re-created the look calling it the “Caviar Manicure” received a letter from our legal team.

‘The letter requested avoidance of use of the term “Caviar Manicure” and the reasons were politely explained.

‘Unfortunately, some bloggers misread this as a cease and desist notice, which it was not. It was never our intention to cause any upset or distress to the blogging community who have always been so very supportive to Ciaté.

‘An apology was immediately issued and indeed published online by one of the 7 bloggers who had received the initial letter.’

Ciaté founder Charlotte Knight, the founder of Ciate, continued by saying:

‘We hope to mend the relationships with those seven bloggers who we have unintentionally offended.’

‘And I really did not like the sound of that letter. What was that part about “avoiding confusion from the point of view of our customers”?

‘Did they just mean they didn’t want people to know they can achieve the same manicure without splurging on their products?’

It sounds like Ciate simply didn’t want clueless consumers to know that they were being charged too much for a product they could get at their local dollar store! But really how clueless are they. Women that buy Ciate’s Caviar manicure know that it is expensive and that is part of the appeal while those who would never buy the product anyway use microbeads purchased at a local dollar store or michaels.


What do you think about the incident?


2 Responses to Ciate Caviar Nails: Nail Polish Brand Steps on Bloggers Toes

  1. Erin on October 9, 2012 at 2:24 am

    HA!! THAT”S like saying you can”t do a french manicure or teach anybody how!! sheesh!! b.t.w…. here”s a fun tip, check your local dollar tree… they”ve got the little micro beads in a 6 pack of pearly colors for $1!!! and you know the under color doesn”t exactly matter too much, as long as the beads stick!! so, hey, keep doing your caviar nails, and get your dollar tree beads, and your $1.99 polish (or even $1 from dollar tree if they got one u like), and do you a $2-$3 caviar manicure!!! POLISH ON!!! LOL…. Silly corporations! They”ll never stop us nail art addicts of the world…

    • Jocelyn
      Jocelyn on October 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

      So true Erin. When I heard about this I was so taken back. \r\n\r\n~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

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