eBay win Tiffany court case

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eBay have scored a victory in their Internet trademark lawsuit bought by Tiffany.

The judge has ruled that Tiffany were unable to prove that eBay were responsible for fake jewellery appearing on the site.

Whilst Tiffany asserted that eBay turned a blind eye to counterfeit goods, eBay defended the case pointing out that Tiffany declined to participate in its VeRO program designed to assist rights owners in taking down fakes and items which infringe their copyright.

The judge has deemed eBay to have acted reasonably with steps in place to protect rights owners from counterfeiters. The ruling also emphasises that the primary responsibility for protecting brands and trademarks is the manufacturers responsibility.

eBay said of the ruling: “While today’s decision is a victory for consumer choice, it is a shame that so much effort has been wasted when Tiffany could have worked with eBay to more effectively fight counterfeits.”

Coming so soon after last weeks restrictive ruling by the French courts this is good news for the eBay legal team, and great news for the sellers of authentic items.

Updated to add: eBay have issued a further statement expanding on their delight at winning the Tiffany court case.

Rob Chesnut, senior vice president and legal counsel at eBay explained that eBay has always been committed to eradicating counterfeits which are prohibited on eBay adding “We are extremely pleased that this ruling supports consumers by allowing them greater choice and value through the global marketplace that eBay provides. This decision validates that eBay has always been committed to fighting counterfeits in a way that goes beyond what the law requires. We see this as an important victory for our global community of buyers and sellers.”

He went on to explain that eBay have pioneered the fight against counterfeits with the VeRO program which 18,000 rights holders use to help eBay remove fakes from the site.

Rob finishes the statement saying the court ruling is inline with established precedent holding the obligation to enforce trademarks with the rights owner but saying eBay will continue to aggressively protect their marketplace.

10 Responses

  1. Tiffany was just trying to make a quick buck. As an eBay merchant I am happy they lost. eBay needs to focus on improving the Marketplace without worrying about these silly lawsuits.

  2. Great result! ( pending appeal no doubt).

    The repercussions of losing did not bear thinking about.

  3. as much as i have been annoyed with eBay, i think the right decision has been made. eBay is a glorified carboot… does the carpark owner get penalised for stalls selling “knock of nigel” goods? No!

    eBay is a business, and although we’ve heard it on and on and on and on… “eBay is a Venue” but it is.

    Yes there are holes in the Vero system, but that’s the system, and if a company wishes not to use it then its their fault not ebays.

    Its like taking the law into your own hands…. if there is a procedure follow it!

  4. #4 Can’t agree about “Venue” ,,

    I consider eBay is more of a “Broker” far to many rules and regulations to be termed a “Venue” these days IMO.

  5. carboots are liable for conterfiets on its site mr X so nerrr

    that being said, its hard enough to keep track of my listing myself, if ebay had to pays someone to thoroughly ckeck every listing the fees would be astronimical.

    they are doing the right thing by going down the amazon route of higher seller compliance, the dodgy ones are soon picked off amazon with there low margin for error.

  6. whirly: i can see your point, and they do police the site to what coincides with thier policy – and they do put in place certian proceedures to make the site fairly safe.. yes its not ideal but that the site.

    Like a car boot sale owner would say “you can only brinnig 1 car in and only 2 people can can stand at the boot of your car”

    You cant expect the car boot owner (ebay) to go round each stall with a copy of Counterfiet weekly to check and make sure that each item is real and not a knock off.

    I’m not in bed with eBay but i do think people / companies see eBay as “screwing them over” when in actual fact it was eBay that made them in the first place.

  7. eBay slept with my mom ?!? lol

    Sorry that was silly.

    Well the French Judge said eBay is not a venue, the American Judge said eBay is a venue, all we need now is a decent Judge to look at it and we might have an answer 🙂

  8. I’m not sure what makes anyone think this is good news for anyone other than eBay.

    Consumers have just been told via the news that there is a strong likelihood that ‘Tiffany’ products sold on eBay are fakes. Those in search of authentic goods will buy elsewhere (unless of course they’re looking for a low price and don’t care if the item is legit or not).

    Sellers of authentic Tiffany on eBay will suffer from the belief of consumers that their merchandise may well be knock-offs, and their items will not fetch the kind of prices garnered by legitimate Tiffany pieces.

    Who benefits? In the short term, eBay, since it has to do nothing. In the long term, no one.

  9. The biggest issue eBay has is regaining customer trust.

    Fighting counterfeits with Tiffany instead of fighting in court would be a good starting point.

    And just because eBay won this fight, they lost against Rolex, Hermes & Louis Vuitton with many more to follow it might be time eBay & these firms learned to work together.

    Counterfeits are bad for everybody concerned, especially buyers.


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