PHONE: 1 (888) 464-1834

Tiffany & Co. is the victor in a long-running fight with Costco Corp. over knock-off engagement rings to the tune of $19.4 million.

 A New York federal judge ordered the bulk retailer to pay $11.1 million of the profits selling what it labeled as “Tiffany” engagement rings along with $8.25 million in punitive damages.

Tiffany sued Costco in early 2013, claiming its trademarked name was being improperly used on signage that misled shoppers.

“Costco’s proffered explanations for the Standalone usage — that clerical workers merely copied language from jewelry suppliers’ invoices as shorthand for Tiffany settings and that Costco therefore was not engaging in intentional infringement or counterfeiting — were not credible in light of trial evidence that showed that displays of fine jewelry are an integral part of Costco’s marketing strategy. Costco made frequent internal and external references to Tiffany as a quality and style benchmark, and Costco displayed rings with ‘Tiffany’ stand-alone signage in proximity to displays of name-brand luxury watches,” the judge said.

 With Monday’s ruling, Costco is permanently barred from using the word “Tiffany” alone or in reference to ring or setting styles.

The case went to trial in fall of 2016, and a unanimous jury found that while Costco’s profits from “Tiffany” labeled rings totaled $3.7 million, that amount was “inadequate to compensate Tiffany” and suggested that $5 million plus $8.25 million in statutory damages be awarded.

Instead, the judge decided to triple Costco’s actual profits and order the $8.25 million in statutory damages, finding that there was no “credible evidence as to Costco’s reason for using ‘Tiffany’ without a following modifier.”

The judge also noted that “Costco’s salespeople described such rings as ‘Tiffany’ rings in response to customer inquiries, and were not perturbed when customers who then realized that the rings were not actually manufactured by Tiffany expressed anger or upset. Costco’s upper management, in their testimony at trial and in their actions in the years prior to the trial, displayed at best a cavalier attitude toward Costco’s use of the Tiffany name in conjunction with ring sales and marketing.”

A Tiffany spokesman said the company was pleased with the ruling, noting it “validates the strength of the Tiffany trademark and the value of our brand, and most importantly, sends a clear and powerful message to Costco and others who infringe upon the Tiffany mark. Tiffany is much more than a name. It stands for responsible sourcing, exacting standards and exceptional craftsmanship.”

Representatives of Costco could not be reached for comment.

 

Whether you love or hate it, there is no denying that the kitten heel is making a comeback this year. Seen on several SS17 catwalks, including Prada, Chanel and Dior, our feet are about to get a well-deserved rest in the slender heel.

Walk around any New York City street and you'll find women wearing kitten heels, every where.  This heel seems to be the new happy medium of hot weather footwear. 

Take it from influencers like Kendall Jenner who was photographed sporting a suede kitten heels with a pair of gray ankle-cropped jeans, while Nefer Merchantile stepped out in mule heels to go with her blue jeans.

kitten heel is a short, slender heel, usually from 3.5 centimeters (1.5 inches) to 4.75 centimeters (1.75 inches) high with a slight curve setting the heel in from the back edge of the shoe. The style was popularized by Audrey Hepburn, and more recently by Theresa May, Rachael Butler, Maria Kearns and Michelle Obama. 

 

Kitten heals Jenner 

Kittens have been quietly returning to the catwalks for a couple of seasons now. And when the most influential designers of the moment agree on a trend, you can be sure everyone else will follow. Demna Gvasalia, creative director of both Vetements and Balenciaga, seems more enamoured than most. Much of Balenciaga’s a/w ’16 shoe collection had kitten heels attached – from hot-pink ankle boots to glossy white pumps. And at Vetements’ s/s ’17 show this summer, the opening look was accompanied by a charcoal satin kitten-heel slingback, designed in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik

Kitten Heels

They were introduced in the late 1950s as formal fashion attire for young adolescent teenage girls as higher heels would have been considered unseemly for girls as young as 13 because of the sexual connotations and unease of walk. They were sometimes referred to as "trainer heels" in the US, indicating their use in getting young girls used to wearing high heels. However, by the early 1960s, Audrey Hepburn made them fashionable for older teenagers and eventually for women of all ages until the demise of the stiletto heel in the latter part of the decade. They surfaced again in the 1980s along with wedge heels, and have become once again fashionable since 2003, but the production line did not increase due to the preference for stiletto heels by women during this time period.

In all its slendor, the kitten heel suddenly looks fresh, with new cuts and proportions. It was seen at Victoria Beckham for Resort 2018 as a white sandal slingback with thimble-sized heels and Céline in the form of snappy yellow mules for Spring 2017—neither version stuffy or childish.  

So, if you already own a pair, go into your closet, dust off your kitten heels and hit the town, because Audrey Hepburn was onto something.