Tiffany damages hearing against Costco starts in New York

Retail giant Costco has started its defense against counterfeiting allegations brought by Tiffany & Co, claiming it is liable for only a fraction of the damages sought by the jewellery company.

A Reuters report notes that Costco insists it owes no more than $781,000 for selling diamond engagement rings than infringed Tiffany's trademarks. The company's counsel - James Dabney of Hughes Hubbard & Reed - told the jury that around 2,500 infringing rings had been sold.

Tiffany has sought damages of $2m per infringement, plus three times the profits made by Costco on the sale of the engagement rings, as well as interest and costs.

The hearing got underway on Monday 19 September, and follows a summary judgment, granted a year ago, which found that Costco had engaged in counterfeiting and unfair competition and was liable for damages. Tiffany first filed suit against the retailer in 2013.

The main point of contention in the lawsuit was whether the term 'Tiffany', as well as being a trademark, could also be considered a generic description for a type of diamond setting commonly used for engagement rings.

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