Tiffany Loses Appeal on $450M Swatch Ruling

Close up of Male lawyer or judge hand’s striking the gavel on sounding block, working with Law books, report the case on table in modern office, Law and justice concept.

Amsterdam: A Dutch court this week upheld a 2013 ruling ordering Tiffany & Co. to pay Swatch Group $450 million (CHF 402.7 million) in damages from their failed joint watch venture, Tiffany reported.

The two companies established a partnership in December 2007 to produce and market watches under the Tiffany brand, but the deal ended in a bitter and expensive court battle. Swatch sued Tiffany in December 2011 for breach of contract, prompting Tiffany to countersue a few months later. Swatch ultimately won the arbitration before a panel of judges in December 2013.

Tiffany successfully appealed the decision in 2015, and the hefty penalty, which Tiffany had already paid, was set aside. However, Swatch contested that judgement, and the appellate court ruled in the Swiss company’s favor on April 25, ordering Tiffany to reimburse Swatch its legal costs of about $6,900 (EUR 6,340).

Tiffany has the right to appeal the decision further to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the company noted. If it chooses to do so, management expects the annulment will only be resolved during the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019 — at the earliest — which could prompt yet another round of claims and counterclaims between the two companies, Tiffany said.