Costco to Pay Tiffany & Co. $19.4M in Counterfeit Suit
A federal judge has ordered Costco to pay Tiffany & Co. $19.4 million in damages for the warehouse club’s illegal sale of counterfeit engagement diamond rings bearing the “Tiffany” name. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said Tiffany deserves $11.1 million, plus interest, representing triple the lost profit from Costco's trademark infringement, plus the $8.25 million in punitive damages awarded by a jury last October. Costco has also been banned from selling anything that Tiffany did not make as a “Tiffany” product. Costco said it plans to appeal the court’s decision.
"This wasn't a case about counterfeiting in the common understanding of that word — Costco wasn't selling imitation Tiffany & Co rings," Costco said.
Total Retail’s Take: Tiffany sued Costco to protect the integrity of its luxury brand. The court’s decision sends a clear message that, although this isn’t counterfeit in the common sense of the word, retailers cannot use other brands’ names to sell more product. "We brought this case because we felt a responsibility to protect the value of our customers’ purchases and to ensure that Costco's customers were not misled," said Leigh Harlan, Tiffany's general counsel.