Tiffany ring or Tiffany-style ring? Yes, there is a difference, as Costco Membership Warehouse Club found out when they lost in court to Tiffany & Co., the jeweler made famous for inventing the four-prong setting showcasing jeweled stones.
It seems the signage in the Costco stores did not use the phrase Tiffany-style rings to describe the jewelry they had for sale, but instead used Tiffany rings in their signage.
Costco was not sued for selling counterfeit knockoffs, but for brand infringement. I bet all this happened because of one person in corporate. A middle manager somewhere who is tasked with deciding what goes on which sign in aisles or on displays.
This person obviously is not a writer or editor because this person had no clue the difference between Tiffany-style rings and Tiffany rings.
Costco has been ordered to pay $19 million to Tiffany & Co. for brand infringement when if they had just paid me one million dollars for editing services I could’ve told them the sign was wrong and would get them into big trouble.
Costco, like most businesses, is too cheap to pay for professional writing and editing services because more than likely their whole thought process is, “Words? We have spellcheck. Greedy writers and editors trying to hold us over the barrel!”
Of course Costco will appeal. Don’t get me wrong. I am a Costco club member and have been for many years. Love the store. For the most part they are doing a fine job (except with that debacle when they replaced Amex with Citi, but that’s neither here nor there) and I will continue to shop there.
But, damn it, Jim, words matter.
I applaud the Court’s decision to uphold Tiffany & Co.’s brand equity. Of course, their attorneys will advise otherwise because they have mortgages and college tuitions to pay, but Costco should just back down on this. Write the check and hand it over with a mea maxima culpa.
Then call me. Angela K. Durden, professional writer and editor, who can and will tell you how to break the rules right. And save you big bucks in the meantime.