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Tiffany v. Costco - Answer

Tiffany v. Costco - Answer

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Published by slburstein
Tiffany v. Costco - Answer
Tiffany v. Costco - Answer

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Published by: slburstein on Mar 13, 2013
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04/02/2013

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Case 1:13-cv-01041-LTS Document 5 Filed 03/08/13 Page 1 of 10
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF
NEW
YORK
-----------------------------------------------------------------------){
TIFFANYAND COMPANYandTIFFANY
(NJ)
LLC,Plaintiffs and Counter-Defendants,
-against
-COSTCOWHOLESALE CORPORATION,Defendant and Counter-Plaintiff.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------){
ECFCASE
13
Civ.1041(LTS)
ANSWER ANDCOUNTERCLAIM
Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco")sells abroad range
of
consumer and householdproducts, including diamond rings having the style
of
multi-prongedsettingdepicted below:Thisstyle
of
ringsettingiscommonlyknownas a Tiffany setting. ThewordTiffany is a generic term for ring settings comprising multipleslenderprongs
eJ<tending
upward fromabaseto holdasinglegemstone.
EJ<amples
of
dictionaryentries,references,and advertisementsusing theword Tiffanyto denotea type or style
of
ringsettingare presented
in
Exhibit
1.
Costcohassoldunbranded rings havingTiffanysettings for manyyears.
In
their complaint,Plaintiffsfalsely accused Costco
of
using"counterfeit""trademarks" andselling"counterfeit"
"T
iffany rings." The ringsapparentlyreferred to by Plaintiffswere,in
 
Case 1:13-cv-01041-LTS Document 5 Filed 03/08/13 Page 2 of 10
truth and in fact, unbranded rings having Tiffanysettings and accurately described as such on in store signs.Diamond rings purchased at Costco come in plain beige outer gift boxes (unlike ringssold by Tiffany
&
Co.,which come in blue outer gi
ft
boxes bearing the name Tiffany
&
Co.);diamond rings purchased
at
Costco have no brand name embossed
or
engraved
on
them (unlikerings sold
by
Tiffany
&
Co. stores,which have the name Tiffany
&
Co.embossed
or
engravedon them); diamond rings purchased at Costco are backed
by
Costco and are returnable for arefund
at
any Costco warehouse store (unlike rings sold by Tiffany
&
Co. stores, whose policyrequires that returns be made within 30 days
of
purchase);and diamond rings purchased atCostco come with Costco-supplied appraisal and sales documentation (unlike rings sold byTiffany & Co., which come with documentation bearing the name Tiffany & Co.
).
Images
of
unbranded ring gift boxes and documentation typical
of
that which Costco provides to diamondring purchasers are presented in Exhibit 2.As set forth more fully below,Costco not only denies having infringed
or
invaded anylegal rights
of
these Plaintiffs, but Costco asks the Court to order that the Plaintiffs be prohibitedand enjoined from ever again asserting false claims
of
right to exclude use
of
Tiffany as ageneric term for a style
or
type
of
ring setting.
By
its counterclaim herein, Costco seeks ajudgment declaring invalid, and ordering modified
or
partially canceled, federal trademarkregistrations which the Plaintiffs have put forward as purportedly evidencing
or
supporting falseclaims
of
right to prevent Costco and other retailers from using the word Tiffany to indicate thata ring has a Tiffany setting,
i.e.,
a setting comprising multiple slender prongs extending upwardfrom a base to hold a single gemstone, exemplified by the type
of
setting that appears on page 1,above, and by settings depicted, described,
or
referred to in Exhibit 1
as
Tiffany settings.
2
 
Case 1:13-cv-01041-LTS Document 5 Filed 03/08/13 Page 3 of 10
For its answer to the specific numbered allegations
of
Plaintiffs'complaint,Costco: 1.Admits that Plaintiffsassertthe claims purportedly stated in their complaint,
and
exceptassoadmitteddenies theallegations
of
paragraph
1.2.
Admits that Costco's business is described in Exhibit 3 hereto, denies knowledgeorinformationsufficient to formabelief
as
to the truth
of
the allegations
of
the firstsentence
of
paragraph2, andotherwise denies the allegations
of
paragraph 2.3.Admits that Costco's business is described in Exhibit 3 hereto,andexceptasso admitteddenies knowledge orinformation sufficientto form a beliefasto the truth
of
theallegations
of
paragraph 3.
4.
Admits that Costco's businessisdescribed in Exhibit3hereto,admitsthat Costco sellsrings, necklaces, and bracelets, and except as
so
admitted denies knowledge or informationsufficientto formabeliefasto the truth
of
the allegations
of
paragraph
4.5.
Admitsthat Costco has from time to time usedsignsin jewelrycases which describegeneric features
of
unbrandedengagementrings, refers to said signs for the preciseterms thereof, andexceptas so admitted denies knowledge
or
informationsufficientto form abeliefasto the truth
of
the allegations
of
paragraph
5.
6.
Admits that Costco has never purported to sell"Tiffanyrings"(asdistinct from unbranded rings having Tiffanysettingsand other accurately described,genericfeatures),and except
as
soadmitted denies the allegations
of
paragraph
6.
7.Admitsthat Costco has not used"Tiffany"as a trademarkfor rings,andexcept as soadmitteddenies the allegations
of
paragraph 7.
8.
Denies the allegations
of
paragraphs 8-10.
3

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