Is Tiffany Generic?

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Genericide kills trademark rights.  It has been alleged that “Tiffany setting,” encompassing the famous TIFFANY mark owned by Tiffany and Company (“Tiffany”), is merely a generic term for a type of engagement ring.

You may recall my DuetsBlog post regarding the lawsuit that Tiffany filed on Valentine’s Day against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) to protect its trademark with respect to engagement rings. Costco brought the generic counterclaim in response.

Although the court denied Tiffany’s motion for summary judgment, this does not mean “Tiffany setting” is generic.  Because of the procedural posture, the evidence was taken in favor of Costco.  The court explained that there were issues of fact.  This does not mean that the court was supporting Costco’s claim that the mark is generic.

A trademark may be found generic when it becomes synonymous with all products of a given type.  Examples of trademarks that became generic include “escalator,” “zipper,” “aspirin,” “laundromat” and “yo-yo.”

Do you think “Tiffany setting” is generic?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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