In an opinion today, Judge Swain denied Tiffany’s pre-discovery summary judgment motion in a suit it brought against Costco for trademark infringement. She found that there were fact questions as to whether, as Costco contends, the trademark “Tiffany” has become a generic term for certain types of ring settings:

In support of its argument that “Tiffany” has acquired a generic meaning when used to refer to a type or style of ring setting, Costco offers excerpts from dictionary definitions of “tiffany” and “Tiffany setting,” a preliminary report by a lexicographer, evidence of generic use of the term “Tiffany setting” by jewelry manufacturers, retailers and consumers, and examples of the generic use of the term “tiffany setting” in publications. While none of the evidence is by any means conclusive of the proposition advanced by Costco it is, taken together and read in the light most favorable to Costco in this pre-discovery context, sufficient to frame a genuine factual dispute as to whether the terms “Tiffany” and/or “Tiffany Setting” have a primarily generic meaning in the minds of members of the general public in the context of ring settings.