(PHOTO CREDIT: Creative Commons) Tiffany Co. is suing wholesale retailer Costco for allegedly deceiving customers by counterfeiting the company’s rings.
Costco and Tiffany Co. are currently in a legal battle regarding whether or not the wholesale warehouse misguided consumers by marking rings as “Tiffany” without consent from the jeweler.
Tiffany filed the suit Thursday in the U.S. Distrcit Court in New York, according to ABC News.
The suit alleges that Costco deceived consumers for years by marking certain rings at “Tiffany” that were “not manufactured by, approved by, licensed by, or otherwise in any way properly associated with Tiffany.
The jewlery store said that the issue came to their attention in November when a customer informed them that she disappointed with the Tiffany ring she bought at a Huntington Beach, Calif. Costco.
The Tiffany company’s lawyer, Jeffrey Mitchell, said that the wholesale store tricked hundreds, if not thousands, of customers into thinking they were buying genuine Tiffany merchandise.
Costco is not backing down, however, and filed a countersuit claiming that Tiffany is a ring style that does not fall under the copyright of the New-York-based jeweler.
“Tiffany is an eponymous name,” saying: “It’s like Phillips screwdriver, it’s like Murphy bed, it’s like Ferris wheel,” Costco’s lawyer James Dabney told the New York Post.
Costco also argued that it never brandished the Tiffany logo, nor did it use a trademark blue box like the jewelry store, which it maintains is sufficient enough to show buyers that its rings are not manufactured by the big name manufacturer.
Monica Riva Talley, an attorney who specializes in trademark law with Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, told ABC News that trademark violations become problematic and difficult to untangle when consumers are dealing with big retailers.
“Most consumers realize that the designer handbags displayed at the local flea market are knock-offs, but it becomes more of a problem for brand owners when counterfeit products are sold – knowingly or not — through reputable outlets,” she said.
Counterfieting is a $600 billion a year problem for manufacturers. This is laregely in part to consumer demand for cheaper goods.
Tiffany Costco Dispute: Jeweler Sues Wholesale Retailer For Copyright … – Latin Times
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