Costco was ordered to pay $25 million dollars for using the Tiffany & Co. name for selling unauthorized branded Tiffany diamond engagement rings. The New York-based jewellery company has been in and out of court with the multinational retail corporation since February 2013, when Tiffany filed a suit which alleged Costco customers bought engagement rings under the impression they were authentic Tiffany products.
The case has been going back and forth before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which featured a jury trial win for Tiffany in 2015. Costco argued “Tiffany” is a generic word for a ring’s setting, but its use of the jewellery company’s name was found to be invalid.
The lower court’s case in August 2017 held that Tiffany & Co was entitled to a minimum of $19.4 million in damages from Costco. The New York federal judge also determined that Tiffany deserves $11.1 million, plus interest, for Costco’s trademark infringement.
Costco was also ordered to turn over $8.25 million in punitive damages, as awarded by the jury, for “willfully” using the trademark-protected “Tiffany” name to describe the rings’.
Costco’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals was lodged in September 2017, was back in court this week, not only receiving a refusal to reduce the amount that Costco owes to Tiffany, but the amount was actually increased by nearly $6 million to cover Tiffany’s legal costs. A decision was made to decline to order a new trial. However, the case will now proceed before a 3-judge panel for the Second Circuit, following a year-long hold in the appeals process while the lower court determined a number of post-trial issues.