Costco Settles Longtime Dispute Over ‘Tiffany’ Diamond Rings

Costco Wholesale Corp. and Tiffany and Co. agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit over the warehouse retailer’s sale of “Tiffany” diamond engagement rings.

The fabled jewelry store chain first sued Costco in 2013, claiming its trademark had been violated. The parties on Monday told U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman Monday that they had agreed to dismiss the case.

David Bernstein, a lawyer for Costco, said in an email that the parties “have amicably resolved their dispute.” He declined to provide details of the settlement or to comment further. Tiffany lawyer Brendan O’Rourke didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking details of the agreement.

Best known for selling groceries and household staples in bulk quantities, Costco had responded to Tiffany’s suit by arguing that “Tiffany setting” had become a generic term in the jewelry industry to describe rings in which the gem is held in place by unobtrusive prongs. Costco further argued there was little chance that its customers would think they had bought an actual Tiffany and Co. ring.

A federal judge in 2017 ruled for Tiffany and awarded the company $19.3 million in damages, finding Costco had acted in bad faith by using the Tiffany name in display cases to sell its rings. But that decision was overturned last year and sent back to trial court for a jury to decide the trademark issue. The settlement was disclosed as the two sides were preparing for trial.

The case is Tiffany and Co. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 13-cv-01041, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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