Intellectual Property, Shopping, Shopping For Others, Trademarks

Instead Of Buying Your Engagement Ring At Costco, Why Don’t You Just Give Her A Lump Of Coal And Tell Her To Sit On It?

If you think you can buy this at Costco, your brain probably fits in this box.

If you walk into a Costco, buy a diamond ring, and think you are getting a “Tiffany” ring, you are an idiot and I have no sympathy for you. You deserve what you get and should probably practice breathing through your nose before going out in polite company.

But, luckily, Tiffany wants to stop you from being so easily fooled. Not because they care about you, per se. But because the thought that even one person thinks that Tiffany is selling rings through Costco is horrifying to them. It’s like asking a Penn student if they make it to football games in Happy Valley.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Tiffany filed a lawsuit against Costco to protect their brand….

The New York Times reports that Tiffany is alleging that individual Costco salespeople are misleading consumers:

In an investigation, the lawsuit says, Tiffany found that Costco salespeople referred to the rings as Tiffany, but that the rings were not promoted as such online. The suit says, “Tiffany has never sold nor would it ever sell its fine jewelry through an off-price warehouse retailer like Costco.”

As a result, the suit says, there are “hundreds if not thousands of people who mistakenly believe they purchased and own a Tiffany engagement ring from Costco.”

Let’s be clear: Tiffany would sooner cast their diamonds into the fires of Mount Doom than let them be sold by Costco. Luxury companies like Tiffany sue to prevent their goods from being sold in discount, off-brand super stores where the masses might get their grubby little hands on them.

It’s not surprising that the jeweler is suing Costco. What surprises me is that consumers, the rubes who have arguably been duped into buying the non-existent “discount TIffany” merchandise, are not also rushing to a courthouse. Are they embarrassed? Do they still not know that they’ve been taken advantage of? Are there women walking around saying, “My Cletus got me this from Tiffany, it came in a blue tin can and everything”?

Or do the people who do know they’ve been duped just think they’re alone now, with no one else around who suffered the same fate?

I’m hoping consumers sue. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between buying a diamond ring at Costco and buying a J.D. from a law school like Cooley. It’d be nice to see some good precedent.

Tiffany Rings at Costco? Not Now, or Ever, the Jeweler Says [New York Times]
Tiffany suit alleges Costco co-opted the jeweler’s name in ring sales [ABA Journal]

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