buckworks - 6:30 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)
presuming that those buying the fakes on eBay are fully aware they are buying fakes
That presumption is not well-founded.
The root problem here is phony merchandise being promoted as the real thing.
This case wasn't about goods which were being clearly promoted as replicas, copies, "inspired by Tiffany's" or something like that. The issue is merchandise which claims to be the real thing when it isn't.
When fake products are promoted as the real thing, users are deceived, and not only does the real brand suffer lost sales, the brand's reputation can suffer real damage if something goes wrong and frustrated consumers assume it's the real brand's fault that the items turned out to be lower quality than they were expecting.
Ebay's responsibility in the situation is certainly good fodder for debate, but the problem faced by companies with hard-earned brand reputations is very real.
I wonder if some folks would find the problems easier to grasp if the case had been something like Ford suing about phony car parts which claimed to be made by Ford?