Feeds

eBay trumps Tiffany in trade mark ruling

US appeals court: Hosting auctions of fakes doesn't infringe

Boost IT visibility and business value

eBay does not infringe jewellery shop Tiffany's trade marks when counterfeits are sold by sellers at the online auction site. Tiffany has lost its appeal in the US against the same decision as made by a lower court.

Tiffany claimed that by allowing people to sell fakes, eBay infringed its trade marks. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals has said that this is not the case because it removed specific items when genuine rights holders brought them to its attention.

But the ruling raised the possibility that eBay may have to change the way it advertises itself. The Court asked the lower court which originally ruled in the case to examine whether eBay broke false advertising rules when ads for its service talked about the availability of Tiffany products.

It may have to warn viewers of ads that some of the Tiffany products could be fakes if the lower court rules against it.

"The law requires us to hold eBay accountable for the words that it chose insofar as they misled or confused consumers," the court ruling said, according to Associated Press. "A disclaimer might suffice … but the law prohibits an advertisement that implies that all of the goods offered on a defendant's Web site are genuine when, in fact, as here, a sizable proportion of them are not."

"Tiffany is very disappointed by [the] decision," said Michael Kowalski, chief executive of Tiffany. "As an e-commerce leader, eBay has a responsibility to protect consumers and promote trust in its marketplace."

"EBay knew that counterfeit merchandise was being sold on its site and eBay took no effective steps to stop it. EBay deliberately misled consumers for profit, and unfortunately, the court has justified its actions," he said.

The company said it would later decide whether to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

"The decision is a critically important victory for online consumers who want the best prices for genuine products and underscores eBay’s commitment to connecting buyers and sellers under the pillars of trust, value, and selection," said eBay general counsel Michael Jacobson. "The ruling validates eBay’s leading efforts to fight counterfeiting and its commitment to providing consumers with choice and value in a safe and trusted marketplace."

See: The ruling (45-page / 134KB PDF)

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.