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Costco to appeal ruling on Tiffany trademark case

Costco Wholesale Corp. said it will appeal a ruling that it sold diamond rings marketed using Tiffany & Co.'s name in its stores, calling the decision "a product of multiple errors."

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled Aug. 14 that Tiffany is entitled to $11.1 million plus interest from Costco, according to an Aug. 14 report by Reuters. The amount represents triple the loss that the luxury jeweler incurred from Costco's trademark infringement in selling diamond rings under the "Tiffany" name, and is added to the $8.25 million in damages awarded in October 2016.

The federal judge in New York also permanently prohibited Costco from using "Tiffany" as a stand-alone term when selling any of its products.

Tiffany originally sued Costco on Valentine's Day in 2013.

Costco said in an Aug. 14 statement following the ruling that the ring in question had a pronged solitaire setting that is "commonly known as a 'Tiffany' setting," although some signage in display cases read "Tiffany" instead of "Tiffany style" or "Tiffany set."

The warehouse retailer argued that its use of the name "Tiffany" referred to a generic style of ring and did not indicate that it was offering rings made by the jewelry brand.

"This was not a case about counterfeiting in the common understanding of that word — Costco was not selling imitation Tiffany & Co. rings," Costco said in the statement, emphasizing that the rings were not stamped with the Tiffany name, nor were they packaged in Tiffany's signature blue boxes.