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Costco Claims "Tiffany" Has Become Generic

Costco advertised some rings in its store as being “Tiffany” rings.

Problem is, Tiffany didn’t make them.

Costco says it wasn’t confusing anyone. It was just describing the setting style, which it says is known as a “Tiffany” setting.

Tiffany’s now suing Costco; Costco is counter-suing Tiffany, saying the “Tiffany” name has become generic.

In other words, Costco is saying that Tiffany’s invaluable brand no longer functions as a trademark; it instead denotes the good itself — a type of setting — the same way that nylon, aspirin, and elevator lost their proprietary meanings and became common words.

KIRO-Radio talked to me about this issue last week.

Do you think “Tiffany” has become generic?

Me? No way. Slam-dunk win for Tiffany.

We’ll see if the court agrees.

Posted on May 9, 2013 by Registered CommenterMichael Atkins in | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

I think the setting is described as a Tiffany. The reference was on the Costco sign, not a blue box or anything else indicating it was a Tiffany product.

When Costco represents something like a Movado watch in its case it is clear what it is. It is obvious what Tiffany's motivation is here. They announced this prior to Valentines day to hurt Costco sales.

That backfired as it helped Costco's sales by highlighting the disparity between Costco's low price and the same quality diamonds being sold at Tiffany for a much higher price. Costco diamonds appraise for a high value than their purchase price while Tiffany diamond appraise for a lower price. Consumers see the value. This lawsuit will further highlight the price and quality value of Costco diamonds. The more Tiffany pursues this lawsuit the more free advertising for Costco's advantage. I think Tiffany will prevail from a legal standpoint, but lose the battle for consumers dollar. I would settle and move on quickly.
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

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