Costco just got a real shiner today — the kind that hurts.
A New York jury walloped the discounter by ordering it to pay Tiffany & Co. a super-sized award of $13.75 million in damages — $5.5 million last week and an additional $8.25 million in punitive damages on Wednesday — for selling engagement rings with the Tiffany name in the display case.
Tiffany sued Costco more than three years ago claiming trademark infringement, accusing Costco of selling counterfeit goods.
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“We felt a responsibility to protect the value of our customers’ purchases and to ensure that Costco‘s customers were not [misled] about their purchases. It is critically important that the Tiffany name not be used to sell any engagement ring that is not its own,” Leigh M. Harlan, Tiffany senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.
Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco did not comment on the award because “the jury’s verdicts will be subject to further consideration by the Court,” the company said in a statement.
“Costco will no doubt appeal this decision,” said Emily Miao, a partner at Chicago-based law firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff. “It’s a substantial, sweeping award for Tiffany,” which has mostly defended its trademark against Chinese entities selling counterfeit goods, she added.