LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – The Tiffany Costco dispute over alleged fake rings heated up this week. The judge has ordered the parties into settlement talks. The Tiffany Costco dispute was first detailed on LALATE back in February. While the case originates out of Huntington Beach, California, it was filed in the US District Court in Manhattan.
Tiffany sued Costco over alleged fake diamond engagement rings today. Tiffany told news that the purportedly fake rings were allegedly sold by Costco stores, not just in Southern California, but across the nation and allegedly for years. Tiffany alerted Costco in 2012 which removed the rings in December that year. But Tiffany filed suit around February 14 claiming trademark infringement, counterfeiting, unfair competition, injury to business reputation, false advertising and deceptive business practices.
“We now know that there are at least hundreds if not thousands of Costco members who think they bought a Tiffany engagement ring at Costco, which they didn’t,” Jeffrey Mitchell, Tiffany’s counsel, said in a news statement at the time. “Costco knew what it was doing when it used the Tiffany trademark to sell rings that had nothing to do with Tiffany. This is not the kind of behavior people expect from a company like Costco, and this case will shed a much needed light on this outrageous behavior.”
Initial news reports were left confused about the nature of the actual rings and their packaging sold in Costco. Costco in moving papers says the packaging is not suggestive of Tiffany’s. It comes in a “plain beige outer gift boxes”. The boxes aren’t blue.
The two parties are disputing the significance of the word “Tiffany’s”, as to be expected. The ring company says the Costco “ring itself mimics the brand…If it is not generic — and I dare say it is not — then what are we talking about?”
Costco makes the peculiar statement about the Tiffany’s trademark. “Tiffany is an eponymous name It’s like Phillips screwdriver, it’s like Murphy bed, it’s like Ferris wheel…. For them to come in and bluster and say there’s no dispute about what the word means will be contradicted by evidence that they were aware of this and they never acted until recently.”
Tiffany’s asserts that it dispatched its team to the Huntington Beach Costco after receiving the phone call. Inside the store they found a purported display case, featuring allegedly Tiffany’s-like packaging, and inside a diamond engagement ring. But Tiffany’s asserts that the rings are fake.
Tiffany’s lawsuit claims that it maintains an “aggressive and rigorous intellectual property program and regularly takes actions against counterfeiters and infringers.” The lawsuit also added “This is not the kind of behavior people expect from a company like Costco, and this case will shed a much needed light on this outrageous behavior.”