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Tiffany & Co. wins lawsuit against Costco over 'Tiffany' rings

Diamonds are a girl's best friend - as the saying goes. But this might not be the case when it comes to knock-off "Tiffany" diamond engagement rings that were sold at Costco stores.

On October 5, Costco was ordered to pay Tiffany & Co. $8.25 million in punitive damages for selling rings with "Tiffany" on them. This was just days after they were also ordered to pay $5.5 million in compensatory damages for profits going back to 2007. The primary reason for these lawsuits went beyond money - it was to protect the Trademarked Tiffany brand.

Tiffany & Co. has not one, but 97 Trademarks linked to its name, dating back to 1868. Diamond engagement rings account  for 30 percent of the company's sales, so it is no wonder they are serious about protecting the brand name.

Costco, on the other hand, claimed that "Tiffany" should not be a Trademarked term, arguing that it is actually a generic term for a type of diamond setting. The judges in these cases disagreed, ruling that Costco knowingly infringed on Tiffany & Co's Intellectual Property.

"The award validates the strength of the Tiffany trademark, the value of our brand, and most importantly, sends a clear and powerful message to Costco and others who infringe the Tiffany mark," Leigh Harlan, Tiffany's general counsel, said in a Fortune article. "It is critically important that the Tiffany name not be used to sell any engagement ring that is not its own."

At the time of the Fortune article, Costco had not commented regarding the case.

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