Picture
So Costco. They are a huge wholesale place right? You go there to buy 3-thousand gallon tub of maple syrup or a year’s supply of paper towels. They even sell electronics and jewelry there. But now they are selling…. Michael Kors purses? Well they claim(ed) to, at least.

In the most recent installment of a luxury brand suing Costco for trademark infringement (see the case of Tiffany’s), Michael Kors is alleging that an email sent by Costco to its customers offered handbags on sale for $99.99 for Mother’s Day, with a picture of a Michael Kors handbag appearing in the email. The pictures of the handbags included Michael Kors signature “MK” tags along with some of the signature designs (I’m not a woman, so no I don’t know which designs exactly). What’s the big deal you ask, I just got a Michael Kors bag for $89.99 at this smokin’ hot sale at the outlet mall last week, and I didn’t have to walk past aisles stacked from the floor to ceiling with pallets of drain cleaner! Well, Costco doesn’t actually sell Michael Kors stuff so putting a picture of one of the bags in an email and providing a bargain basement price (Michael Kors purses usually retail for anywhere between $128 and $1,395) is kind of somewhat confusing if you were a desperate lad looking for a quality handbag at a reasonable price for your mum. Here's a screenshot of the email that was sent out:

Picture

The complaint filed by Michael Kors is pretty cut and dry: Costco is not authorized to sell Michael Kors handbags and by putting images of the handbags in an email and advertising a low price, the email deceived consumers and made other bags being sold by Costco look better. What defenses does Costco have? Apart from “oh, we let a marketing intern put together to email so we didn’t even notice the images used in the email, lol”), I can’t really put my finger on anything in particular that might save Costco. I’m sure there must have been some documented case of consumer confusion (I myself would have been suckered into capitalizing on such an incredible price). And fair use probably isn’t available as a defense because Costco used the mark in such a way that people would probably be confused as to whether Michael Kors purses were actually sold at Costco. 

Luxury brand owners of course have a lot at stake. A luxury brand usually has significant goodwill and customer recognition attached to it, have a high probability of becoming tarnished due to the actions of counterfeiters, and is backed by a significant investment in marketing by the brand’s owner. The investment backing a luxury brand can sometimes be on-par with that of Fortune 500 brands such as Coca-Cola. To protect luxury brands, the owner might be very selective in the kinds of distributors that they use to sell their products. If a particular product is expensive and exclusive, then it of course makes sense to make the distribution channels exclusive right? For this reason, just like we saw in Tiffany’s case against Costco, there is likely to be a lot of mudslinging with Michael Kors saying that Costco is a “low-cost, low-slung purveyor of cheap crap” and that “our goods do not belong next to industrial sized packages of bubble gum”. Costco may strike back with some daggers of its own, like it has done against Tiffany by arguing that the Tiffany name itself is generic for jewelry settings.

I’m going to be extra charitable and say that somebody in the marketing department at Costco goofed. I mean, considering the high-profile battle between Costco and Tiffany’s, why would Costco want to become embroiled in another tussle with a different luxury brand? At the very least, this episode indicates the importance of brand clearance and communications auditing not only of your own brands as a trademark owner, but also of brands that you reference in your marketing pieces. Any reference to a third-party, particularly one that places significant value on their brand names, could put you in trouble, especially if you aren’t authorized to sell the third-parties products. 

The takeaway for luxury brand owners? Be careful who you go after. You might find yourself dealing either with the war chest of a well-funded retailer or the stinging rebuke of t.o’ed consumers.

Sidenote (yes another one!): I actually love going to Costco and think they have an excellent business model. So no snarky comments as to Costco or the layout of its stores, or the wares that it sells should be taken as anything more than an attempt at witty humor to make this topic more interesting as a blog post. For the record, Costco’s all-american chocolate cake is probably my favorite dessert of all time. 
 


Comments

12/10/2014 12:12am

China online shop free shipping, shopping for cheap new Android Smart ... Toys, Gifts, Watches, Jewelry, Clothing from best china wholesale supplier online store.

Reply
01/19/2015 8:30am

Advantageously, the article is really the best on this notable topic. I harmonize with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your approaching updates.

Reply
04/06/2015 4:54am

But on other hand if a student work hard in his education and get good results in his exams. Then his future will be bright. He will be the next doctor, engineer, or lawyer of the country.

Reply

Conflict is always a part of any business. Tough competition and a shrinking market share are behind all of the cutthroat policies of businesses. But with all the operating expenses and other costs that owners must shoulder even in tough times there is really no way but to guard one’s territory. There are some things that business schools do not teach a business owner that the latter can only learn on hand. And when the going gets tough, there is no other way for a business, but to do its best in the hopes that its customers remain loyal.

Reply
01/03/2016 4:23am

Bike advances are a alive best to admiral ashamed allocation out banknote for address a bike. The pale and compassionate of bike advances are acceptable for the borrower about there absurd 'ol shaped it a arresting choice.Trendy abettor bikes are one of the alleviation up contest of today's circumscribed area period.

Reply
02/09/2016 1:58pm

thanks for the given info

Reply

Mostly people like it Michael Kors purse because its a big brand in all our the working infect I much like it this purses and I am purchase 3 to 4 latest design purse at online store.

Reply
02/29/2016 4:06am

A final judgment or award by the arbitrator may then be duly entered and recorded by the prevailing party in the appropriate court as final judgment. The arbitrator shall award costs (including, without limitation, the JAMS’ fee and reasonable attorney’s fees) to the prevailing party.

Reply
03/03/2016 8:53am

Anyways, it is important to remember that no one else is picturing the story as it unfolds in exactly the same way you are.

Reply
03/27/2016 12:01pm

Through these advances, the borrowers can accepting any accoutrement they like and appraisal purchase. It can be avant-garde one or affiliated an apprenticed one. Whether it is an credible one or a counterbalanced one would accusation to him, it is barnacle on the alone acclimation of the borrower. Despite absoluteness that the borrower needs to accepting a started motorbike, it adversity to be discharges than 5-7 years of age.

Reply
03/29/2016 12:58am

Great blog post, however only a few of the points were actually treated really good,I definitely enjoyed what you had to say.

Reply
04/02/2016 2:54am

Actually this blog maintaining an unique and also interesting information.Thanks for show to us. Maintain it up.

Reply
04/07/2016 12:13pm

There may be a action area you are not composed to balance aggregate of the change to the payday moves affiliation. In such a condition, the payday moves amalgamation accepted accuse the payday credits almanac allegation and yields the accepted area over a added set abreast two or three account of time,

Reply
04/17/2016 10:32am

The framework for accepting abettor through appellation credits is the above in a bulk of seconds. Borrowers accusation be animate for progression pros who accusation aberrant aeriform ante of redirection. One accusation appraisal appellation credits above from the acceptance banks why affliction to asked for action these advances.

Reply
05/17/2016 4:33am

this is actually excellent, one-of-a-kind and also extremely informative post, i like it. thanks

Reply

The actual maybe nearly all obviously simultaneously the superior males and females discover there qualities inside web page, having good luck, this amazing individuals who review they bombarded.

Reply

having thank you linked to delivering the proper truth My, individual loved one along with my family in addition to we essential by means of nowadays, accomplished skillfully

Reply
06/19/2016 11:48pm

Got an important aspect incredible they can must burden, also after i consider your internet site is quite ready as well as may possibly da because quantity.

Reply
06/20/2016 12:21am

The real essential to amazing depends on individuals creativity, combined together with your truly profitable to whilst your web page.

Reply
06/20/2016 12:55am

Wants preferred must take advantage of, since properly since whether it be critical foreseeable future typically be satisfied, your internet site is quite valuable, appreciate it quite a lot lots.

Reply
07/28/2016 1:17am

This is a great inspiring .I am pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpful information. I am looking to reading your next post.

Reply
08/16/2016 1:15am

very interesting read no doubt.

Reply
09/04/2016 8:52pm

http://jellygamatgoldgasli.com/

Reply
12/05/2016 1:38am

Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.

Reply

Reply
12/23/2016 9:29am

Reply

Useful information… I am very happy to read this.. thanks for giving us this useful information. Fantastic walk-through.

Reply
01/24/2017 10:38pm

Unprecedented! This is genuinely a preparation related post and I am unreasonably peppy, making it difficult to be the peruser of this. This gave all around awesome information about article forming and share various more things. Well done keep it up

Reply

You have a great sense of writing I must say. Your post has those facts which are not accessible from anywhere else. It’s my humble request to u please keep writing such remarkable articles.

Reply
02/20/2017 10:09am

Thanks for this post. You mentions each and everything here. Keep it up dear.

Reply
03/23/2017 2:59am

We are one of the authorized person for bus branding in Chennai metropolitan.Across Tamilnadu we can do bus advertising like city’s Coimbatore,Madurai,Trichy,Tirunelveli,Pondycherry.

Reply
03/23/2017 4:51am

Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so long.

Reply
04/05/2017 4:35pm

Great I found your web.. it's a nice place to learn...

Reply
04/11/2017 10:08pm

This blog suggested me a new point to focus on. I am going to adopt this new approach while going forward in my career and related work. Appreciated help of this blog

Reply

Great article!! tHanks a lot to you! So cool!

Reply
04/24/2017 12:07am

This is really great information found here, I really like your blog. Thanks very much for the share. Keep posting.

Reply

Nice Post. It’s really a very good article. I noticed all your important points. Thanks 

Reply
04/24/2017 4:56am

I am not sure where you're getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

Reply
04/27/2017 7:30pm

We need more info about this issue, hope you give some additional updates. Thanks!

Reply
05/15/2017 10:04pm

Mesmerized article written on this blog with other relevant information. It is straight to the point that how we can improve our skills as well as how we can be represented to a new stream of professionalism.

Reply
06/03/2017 9:39pm

This is another way that the deceitful loan specialist will attempt to exploit you.

Reply
06/04/2017 11:08am

Most Payday credit organizations oblige you to have one or a few pay check stubs to confirm that you will have the assets to pay them back.

Reply

Have you heard about a purse snatcher who have stolen purse of a billiard player then he ran away but he throw the cue stick which stuck in the middle of the leg and then fell off

Reply

This is really great information found here, I really like your blog. Thanks very much for the share. Keep posting.

Reply
06/21/2017 3:00am

The best post ever.. How can you make it awesome like this? Thank you for sharing ;)

Reply
06/21/2017 3:20am

You have done a brilliant job making sure that people understand where you are coming from. And let me tell you, I get it. Please post more updates to cure.

Reply



Leave a Reply