eBay sued for not pulling listings

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Eric Goldman’s always interesting Technology and Marketing Law Blog has a revealing piece about eBay being sued for failing to remove listings from the site. The legal action began as Hansson, a dolls’ house furniture maker, versus Brower: Hansson claim that Brower are infringing their trademark with sales under the Hansson name on eBay. You’d think it was what Eric calls a “garden variety trademark enforcement action”.

But Hansson are also suing eBay. They claim that they sent 8 takedown notices plus a cease and desist letter to eBay: it’s not clear whether these were sent through eBay’s VeRO system or not. But apparently none of the legal notices were acted on, so they’ve added eBay to the case for contributory trademark infringement.

It seems there isn’t enough case law yet to predict whether eBay would be held liable in the case or not, but one has to wonder, as Eric does, “was it wise to drag eBay into this otherwise ordinary enforcement lawsuit? … [S]uing eBay ensures that a well-funded litigant with good lawyers will be on the defense side.” According to the prosecuting lawyer, “the goal was to get eBay to intervene”. I’m sure they’ve got eBay’s attention now.



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