Costco Wholesale Corp. is punching back at Tiffany & Co., after the luxe jeweler sued the warehouse club for selling unauthorized Tiffany-branded engagement rings in its stores.
The big box retailer denied ever selling Tiffany-branded baubles, instead claiming that it only used the words “Tiffany setting” to describe the ring setting.
In counterclaims, which were filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, Costco said “the word Tiffany is a generic term for ring settings comprising multiple slender prongs extending upward from a base to hold a single gemstone.”
Citing multiple examples of dictionary entries, references and advertising using the word “Tiffany” to denote a type or style of ring setting, Costco said it has “sold unbranded rings having Tiffany settings for many years.”
The jeweler became aware of the situation last November, and a month later sent out a cease-and-desist letter. Costco immediately took down the signage, but according to Tiffany intangible damage had been sustained. The New York-based retailer is looking for a permanent injunction and damages, which will be decided by the court.
In its counterclaims, Costco argued that Tiffany “falsely accused” it of using “counterfeit trademarks and selling counterfeit Tiffany rings.” The rings, which were unbranded, included Tiffany settings and were “accurately described as such on in-store signs,” Costco’s lawyers said.
“Diamond rings purchased at Costco come in plain beige outer gift boxes unlike rings sold by Tiffany & Co., which come in blue outer gift boxes bearing the name Tiffany & Co.,” attorneys noted, adding that rings purchased at Costco are unbranded and come with receipts that clearly indicate their origin of purchase — Costco.
In a bold move, Costco not only denied having infringed on Tiffany’s trademarks, but it also asked the court to permanently ban Tiffany from claiming it controls the name of the ring setting, which Costco deems as “generic.” As a result, Costco said it wants court-ordered changes to the federal trademark registration, which Tiffany is putting forward as evidence.
The wholesaler also wants Tiffany to “admit” that its well-publicized lawsuit against Omega SA was “dismissed on grounds of copyright misuse.” In its complaint, Tiffany had cited the lawsuit, implying that the cases had similarities, Costco said.
Finally, Costco is looking for the court to drop Tiffany’s lawsuit and award it any equitable relief it deems proper.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast