Recently, Tiffany & Co., sued Costco for selling millions of dollars’ worth of knock-off Tiffany rings. Costco described the rings as “Tiffany” rings on their signs. Tiffany & Co. argued that this was misleading to customers and falsely suggested that the rings were actually designed and manufactured by the famous jewelry maker.
Tiffany & Co. was the first company to set rings in a claw to show more sparkle and light refraction. Prior to its innovation, diamonds were encased in a metal cup, reducing the luminosity of the stone. Now, all rings set in a claw setting are colloquially referred to as “Tiffany setting” rings.
Tiffany & Co. was successful in its suit and the Court barred Costco from using the word “Tiffany” to describe products not associated with the actual Tiffany jewelry brand, and ruled that Costco should pay Tiffany & Co. over $11 million plus interest, and nearly $9 million in punitive damages.
Costco has announced that it plans to appeal the decision, emphasizing that the rings were not stamped with the Tiffany & Co. name, but rather the name of the company that manufactured them. Further, Costco argues that the rings were accompanied by appraisals that did not say “Tiffany & Co.” The receipts also did not mention that the rings were Tiffany rings and the infringement was limited to the signage promoted by Costco to sell the rings in its retail outlets.
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