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The Tiffany Epiphany

Valentine's Day- a day full of love, flowers, candy grams, and lawsuits.

On February 14th 2013, Tiffany & Co. sued the wholesale giant Costco over alleged copyright infringement. Costco was selling the signature six-pronged round diamond engagement rings that are better known as "Tiffany" rings. The question is, do the quotation marks belong on either side of the name Tiffany or not? Costco clearly used the name "Tiffany" on the sign used for the ring, which you would think is the epitome of copyright infringement, but they're claiming that it's a generic term and therefore the allegations are not applicable. A popular example of this would be the word "Band-Aid" which is used in place of the word bandage or plaster. Even though Band-Aid is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson, it became a universal generic term. Unfortunately for Tiffany, their products don't exactly cost less than $5, so this packs a much bigger wallop financially for them.

In more recent news, there was a federal court ruling in New York on January 17th 2014 in continuation of the lawsuit against Costco and Costco's counterclaim against Tiffany & Co. In the ruling, it said there is a "genuine factual dispute as to whether the terms “Tiffany” and/or “Tiffany Setting” have a primarily generic meaning,"* thus Tiffany & Co.'s motion to dismiss the counterclaim by Costco was denied. They are set to reconvene one final time on June 27th.

 

*Source: http://sdnyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/13-Civ.-01041-2014.01.17-Opinion-Denying-Summary-Judgment.pdf

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