Since 2012, Costco and Tiffany have been fighting in court over the question of whether “Tiffany” describes a jewelry company and a prestigious brand, or a just a style of diamond solitaire ring. The case finally reached a jury this month, and the jury’s verdict is that Costco owes Tiffany $5.5 million in compensation, and an amount yet to be decided in punitive damages.
In 2012, Costco put a bunch of what its signage called “Tiffany” diamond engagement rings out in its stores with much lower prices than one would pay in a Tiffany store. Both companies agree on that.
However, Costco claims that it was selling regular diamond rings with a Tiffany setting, at reasonable prices. Tiffany countered that the warehouse club was out to deliberately mislead shoppers into thinking that the rings were from Tiffany, including similar packaging.
Last year, a federal judge found in favor of Tiffany and the case went ahead, and now the jury concluded that Costco owes $5.5 million, or the approximate amount that it took in on the sales of these rings.
The warehouse club argued that it owed maybe $750,000, or about $500 per ring that had been sold during the brief period that they were available.
Costco had offered refunds to any customers who had purchased the Tiffany setting rings who were dissatisfied with them or felt that they had been misled.