business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Business Journal reports that "a federal jury has ordered Costco to pay Tiffany & Co. $5.5 million as part of a trademark lawsuit in which the jeweler sued the warehouse club retailer for selling “Tiffany” diamond engagement rings that had no affiliation with the well-known jewelry brand itself.

The number was determined by calculating Costco's profit from selling about 2,500 of the rings, the story says. The judge in the case still has to issue a final decision on punitive damages.

The Journal notes that "Costco contended that the word 'Tiffany' is a generic term for a pronged, solitaire-style ring setting. In September 2015, a judge disagreed, and ordered Costco to stop using the Tiffany name and logo in its marketing and merchandising of the jewelry."
KC's View:
I wouldn't have bought Costco's argument for a moment ... it seems like a Hail Mary pass delivered by attorneys who couldn't come up with anything better.

I do think there's a larger issue - that retailers need to be rigorous about being honest, specific, and accurate about the products they sell. Costco, usually a good citizen in this regard, dropped the ball on this one.