Costco and Tiffany & Co. Settle Trademark Dispute after 8 Long Years

The great food chain Costco Wholesale and the great jewelry Tiffany & Co finally reached an amicable agreement. After around eight years, they had legal litigation on counterfeiting by the food distributor of engagement rings of the prestigious Tiffany collection. The case was heard by a US district court in Manhattan, and this week it received a motion to dismiss the case, said attorney David Bernstein, a Costco representative.

The case was filed in court in 2013, and since then, it has been under action from both parties. The plaintiffs were seeking damages of $2 million, in addition to Costco returning the proceeds from the sales of the rings in question. Tiffany alleges that Costco customers probably still think those rings are authentic.

One of Tiffany’s legal representatives, who fought the case for the same, came out to the media and remarked, saying that this particular behavior was not what the common mass of us would expect from a reputed and established company like Costco. He further added that, according to him, the case will run long and that within its time frame; it is going to bring about a lot of much-needed and anticipated light on the outrageous behavior by the company. People are not going to stay quiet or forget this soon; he said while concluding his statement in front of the media. 

For the prestigious jewelry store, it was not only a counterfeit but a “scandalous behavior” by Costco where the intellectual property of its brand was infringed. Initially, a federal court found Costco liable for the disputed sale of the rings, although Costco argued that Tiffany had become “generic” in describing the setting of the rings.

It was until 2017 that Costco had the first judgment of $21 million to pay to the luxury goods company Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH SE) that Tiffany had just acquired. After this ruling, an appeal court said that Costco had acted in good faith and that Costco customers were agile enough to know that they were buying an imitation piece because it was obvious that the prestigious jewelry brand would not endorse the sale of the pieces at a food wholesale. It is estimated, according to court documents, that Costco stores sold nearly 3,500 engagement rings in the United States. It all started when a Tiffany customer complained to the jewelry store, thinking that they were selling off the brand’s diamond rings, seeing them cheaply at a California Costco. The case ends after the famous jewelry changed owners and, therefore, lawyers. They apparently decided not to publicize the case further.