New York Trademark

New York Trademark Dispute Alert: Tiffany v. Costco

Hollander Law, P.C. will be monitoring this noteworthy New York trademark case and welcome to hear your opinion regarding this action. If you are interested in further discussing your New York trademark rights or your federal rights please contact us for a free consultation.

One particular New York trademark case has been receiving a tremendous amount of media attention this week. It involves a recent trademark suit brought in New York on February 14, 2013 by Tiffany & Co. (“Tiffany”) against Costco Wholesale Corp (“Costco”) in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, New York. Tiffany is seeking court intervention to stop Costco’s sale of engagement rings are sold under a product name that includes the word “Tiffany” and for Costco to forfeit profits from the ring sales plus damages of $2 million per trademark infringement.

Tiffany alleges that neither of the rings identified in the Costco stores as “Tiffany” were in fact a Tiffany ring, nor was it manufactured by, approved by, or licensed by, or otherwise in any way properly associated with Tiffany.

Tiffany claims that despite its efforts to vigorously police its trademark, this infringement went undetected as Cosco did not use the Tiffany trademarks online for the same products, thereby avoiding detection of its unlawful activities. As a result, Tiffany’s alleges that Costco was then able to sell the rings in warehouse stores around the United States for many years, thereby unlawfully trading off Tiffany’s goodwill and famous trademark.

Notably, we are only hearing Tiffany’s side of the story, and Costco will undoubtedly provide the court, and public, with a different spin on these facts. Nevertheless, this Valentine’s Day case should be a reminder to all of those who strive to police and protect their trademarks: As diligent as your efforts may be, there may be infringement that you cannot readily detect by monitoring activities on the internet.