Tiffany & Co. v. Costco Damage Award Vacated

Takeaway: The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s $21 million dollar judgement award to Tiffany & Co. against Costco.

Just this month, the Second Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s finding (Tiffany and Co. et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-2798) that Costco was liable for counterfeiting, trademark infringement, and its award of damages to Tiffany in the amount of $21 million dollars. The Second Circuit reasoned that it was premature at the summary judgment stage to conclude that Costco infringed Tiffany’s trademark when Costco advertised the word “Tiffany” with accompanying display cases for diamond engagement rings.

The Second Circuit also found that Costco’s evidence “presented a ‘genuine question as to the likelihood of customer confusion’ because Costco provided evidence that ‘Tiffany’ is a broadly recognized term to describe a particular type of ring setting and because purchasers of diamond rings ‘educate themselves so as to become discerning consumers.’”

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