Tiffany’s Chief Executive has given evidence in his company’s long-running lawsuit against eBay for the sale of counterfeit merchandise. Michael Kowalski said that the company has brought more than 600 actions costing US$14million over the past five years to protect its trademarks, and that they have sued four eBay vendors, but that to pursue every individual seller of counterfeit product was “simply uneconomical”.
At the heart of the case is the question of whose responsibility it is to police pirated designer goods being offered for sale on eBay. Bruce Rich, eBay’s lawyer, said that $14m was not very much for a company of Tiffany’s size to spend, and that they were “trying to shift the burden entirely to eBay”. Tiffany’s lawyer James Swire said “eBay overstates Tiffany’s obligation to police its marks. Tiffany is not shirking its responsibility.”