eBay wins court case over Tiffany fakes
Wednesday, July 16, 2008/
Just a week after a French judge ordered eBay to pay luxury goods company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton $65 million over the sale of counterfeit goods on the auction site, an American judge has ruled eBay did not have responsibility to prevent users fr
Online auction giant eBay has finally had a win.
Just a week after a French judge ordered eBay to pay luxury goods company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton $65 million over the sale of counterfeit goods on the auction site, an American judge has ruled eBay did not have responsibility to prevent users from selling fake Tiffany & Co jewellery.
Legal experts in the US say the ruling, made by judge Richard Sullivan of the United States District Court in Manhattan, has reaffirmed a long-held policy that sites are not responsible for illegal violations of rights’ holders trademarks or copyrights, providing they remove infringing material once they are notified of a counterfeiting issue.
Sullivan said he was not unsympathetic to the position of Tiffany and other companies who have built up huge equity in their brands, only to see their brands exploited illegally. But he ruled that it was Tiffany’s responsibility to police and protect that brand.
“Tiffany must ultimately bear the burden of protecting its trademark,” Sullivan wrote in his decision. “The court finds that when eBay possessed the requisite knowledge, it took appropriate steps to remove [counterfeit] listings and suspend service.”
Tiffany, which launched the case four years ago, said it was “shocked and disappointed” with the ruling and is likely to appeal.
eBay said the case proved that it aggressively fights counterfeiting on its site.
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