Tiffany & Co., one of the world’s most famous jeweller, may lose its trademark rights. It is claimed the trademark ‘Tiffany’ has become generic.
The claim is being made by Costco, a large US membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise, including jewellery.
After Tiffany noticed in 2012 that Costco was selling “Tiffany-style” rings in its wholesale outlets, Costco stated that a “Tiffany setting” is merely a generic term for a type of ring setting. Tiffany & Co., that holds 69 “Tiffany-trademarks” in the US only, will of course do anything in its power to prevent their 175 year old USD 5.44 billion valuated brand to go generic. A trademark deemed generic loses its protected status because it ceased to perform the function that justified its protection; competitors therefore can use the mark to describe their offerings.
Costco claims there are a large number of examples where “Tiffany” and “Tiffany setting” are being used in a generic sense. It will be up to Tiffany & Co. to prove that their trademark has not become generic, and that they have systematically have prevented it from becoming generic.
For the renowned jeweller, it is of the utmost importance that they keep their trademark. And that they will not become the next ‘escalator’, ‘thermos’ ‘kerosene’ or ‘dry ice’.