Tiffany & Co. and Costco in Heated Trademark Dispute Over Rings

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Costco and jewelry company Tiffany & Co. are currently in a multi-million dollar trademark dispute, as Costco has named their diamond rings "Tiffany."

On Friday, the two companies went to court where lawyers made arguments for their cases.

Tiffany Costco is claiming that the name Tiffany describes the ring's setting, and is not trying to look like a replica of Tiffany & Co. rings.  

James Dabney, Costco's lawyer, said the company is not violating a trademark because people associate the name "Tiffany" with a ring's setting, not the company. 

"Tiffany is an eponymous name," he said. "It's like Phillips screwdriver, it's like Murphy bed, it's like Ferris Wheel."

Tiffany, Dabney argued, describes the setting of a stone inside a raised claw. 

But Jeffrey Mitchell, Tiffany & Co.'s lawyer, said people will first think of the company when they think of the word "Tiffany."

"If you ask 100 people on the street, 'What does Tiffany mean?' they're not going to say the setting," he said. "They're going to say the jewelry or the jewelry stores."

Dabney said Costco is not trying to make their rings look like Tiffany & Co.'s rings, as they sell them in "unbranded" boxes, not blue ones. 

Tiffany's lawyers said Costco was selling "counterfeit rings," which angered Costco's lawyers. Dabney said the company used "fighting words to describe what Costco did."

Judge Laura Taylor Swain has ordered both sides to have settlement talks with a magistrate judge.

Sources: Inquisitr, CS Monitor