3 October 2016Trademarks

Costco should pay Tiffany $5.5m in trademark claim, says jury

Wholesaler Costco should pay luxury jeweller Tiffany $5.5 million in compensation for selling thousands of counterfeit diamond rings.

This is the finding of a jury on September 29 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The jury added that Tiffany was also entitled to punitive damages, the amount of which will be decided this week.

The trial began on September 20, a year after Judge Laura Swain granted Tiffany’s motion for summary judgment which found Costco liable for counterfeiting and trademark infringement.

The luxury jeweller had sued Costco in February 2013, after receiving information from consumers that the retailer was selling a range of rings under the name Tiffany.

Costco then filed a counterclaim which alleged that the term ‘Tiffany’ had become generic.

Swain rejected Costco’s argument, holding that the retailer had failed to produce any affirmative evidence that demonstrates that ‘Tiffany’ when used as a mark is not strong or that any potential generic use of Tiffany had “undermined the strength of ‘Tiffany’ mark”.

“Costco’s proffer is insufficient to raise an issue of material fact with respect to the actual confusion factor, and Tiffany’s evidence of consumer confusion stands unrebutted,” she added.

Costco said it would not comment because of continuing deliberations by the jury.

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More on this story

6 October 2016   A US jury has reportedly ruled that wholesaler Costco must pay luxury brand Tiffany $8.25 million in punitive damages for selling counterfeit diamond rings.
9 January 2019   Wholesale company Costco has lost a bid to reverse or reduce a $19.4 million judgment against it in a lawsuit filed by jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co for unlawfully using its trademark on engagement rings.
25 July 2019   Jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co has asked an appeals court to uphold a $19.4 million ruling against Costco, after a jury found the wholesale company had infringed its trademark.