Feeds

Tiffany demands reappraisal of eBay counterfeit decision

Doesn't want all that glitters to be sold

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. is appealing a recent federal court decision that cleared eBay from responsibility for counterfeit items which appear on the online auction site.

Last July, a US District Court in Manhattan ruled eBay isn't obligated to actively monitor and remove listings that infringe on the jeweler's trademarks. That ruling dovetailed with one from earlier this year when a French judge sided with the handbag group LVMH's compensation demands over fake Louis Vuitton merchandise listed on eBay. A German court this spring also ordered eBay to prevent the sale of fake Rolex watches.

Tiffany claims eBay should be held liable for "facilitating" and allowing counterfeit items to be sold on the website. It argues eBay needs to preemptively refuse to post any listing selling five or more Tiffany items and immediately suspend users if Tiffany suspects they are engaged in potentially infringing activity.

EBay responds that it already takes down auctions if notified that they violate trademarked or copyrighted material, but the ultimate responsibility of policing trademarks lies with the brand holder.

The court sided with eBay, ruling the law doesn't make the auction house responsible for contributory trademark infringement by refusing to take preemptive steps based on generalized knowledge that counterfeit goods might be sold on the website.

"Quite simply, the law demands more specific knowledge as to which items are infringing and which seller is listing those items before requiring eBay to take action," District Judge Richard Sullivan wrote in his ruling.

Tiffany announced today it has filed an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“Unfortunately, the trial court incorrectly held that trademark holders and not eBay are responsible for policing the eBay site. The effect of this is that eBay can continue to profit at the expense of consumers and trademark holders,” said Patrick Dorsey, general counsel for Tiffany in a statement. "In our view, this approach makes no sense as a matter of law or policy. Once eBay has reason to know that a specific brand like TIFFANY & CO. is being widely counterfeited and sold, eBay should be compelled to investigate and take action to protect its customers and stop the illegal conduct.”

Ebay begged to differ.

"Tiffany's decision to carry this litigation on after the District Court's decision doesn't do anything to combat counterfeiting," said an eBay spokeswoman in an e-mailed statement. "The best way to stop counterfeiting is ongoing collaboration between companies, government agencies and law enforcement." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.