The warehouse chain got hit with another $8.25 million bill for damages
A federal jury has given Costco a 24-pack of pain.
In the latest development in Tiffany’s three-year legal battle over Costco’s unauthorized sales of rings marked Tiffany, a New York jury ruled that the warehouse club must pay the noted jeweler $8.25 million in punitive damages. That’s in addition to the $5.5 million Tiffany has been awarded in compensatory damages due to the sales of the infringing items.
The number could change, as judge has the discretion to treble—or lower—the jury’s award.
Costco can still appeal the findings, though an earlier bid for an emergency appeal was denied. It has declined comment, saying “the jury’s verdicts will be subject to further consideration by the court.”
The often-bitter brawl began when Tiffany caught Costco selling engagement rings marked Tiffany at a California store. The discount chain claimed it was simply selling Tiffany settings, leading to a lengthy discussion—eventually adjudicated in Tiffany’s favor—over whether Tiffany setting is a generic term.
In a statement, Leigh M. Harlan, senior vice president of Tiffany & Co., said the award “sends a clear and powerful message to Costco and others who infringe the Tiffany mark.
“Tiffany is much more than a name,” she continued. “It stands for responsible sourcing, exacting standards, and exceptional craftsmanship. We felt a responsibility to protect the value of our customers’ purchases and to ensure that Costco‘s customers were not mislead about their purchases. It is critically important that the Tiffany name not be used to sell any engagement ring that is not its own.”