Judge Overturns a $21M Trademark Judgement Against Costco for the Use of the Term “Tiffany Setting”
In August, a federal judge overturned a lower court ruling in a case brought by Tiffany & Co. against Costco. Costco sold rings described as having a "Tiffany setting.” The judge determined the description is commonly used enough to negate the trademark claim for this instance. "Tiffany setting" has achieved "Kleenex status," meaning that the phrase is so commonly used to describe the product that it causes little to no consumer confusion. Trademark law exists to prevent consumer confusion about the source of a good or service, so if a trademarked brand name becomes common enough to classify an entire product or service category, the trademark becomes irrelevant.