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In a long-awaited decision in a four-year-old trademark lawsuit against eBay brought by jeweler Tiffany and Co., Judge Richard Sullivan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled Monday that the online retailer does not bear a legal responsibility to prevent its users from selling counterfeit items on its marketplace.
The decision in the closely watched case, which will likely be appealed by Tiffany, reaffirms that Internet companies do not have to actively filter their sites for copyrighted or trademarked material. Rather, they can rely on intellectual property-holders to monitor the sites, as long as the retailers take material down when rights-holders complain. The decision marks a dramatic turn in eBay’s recent courtroom fortunes. The ruling comes a week after a French judge ordered eBay to pay $60 million to French luxury goods maker LVMH, the maker of Louis Vuitton handbags. In April, a German appeals court ruled that eBay must take preventative measures against the sale of counterfeit Rolex watches.
eBay Gets Hit For Allowing Sale Of 'Fakes' [webmasterworld.com]
Rather, they can rely on intellectual property-holders to monitor the sites, as long as the retailers take material down when rights-holders complain.
There goes a new Internet marketing position. That will probably require at least one full time person and who knows how many remote operators. ;)
The decision in the closely watched case, which will likely be appealed by Tiffany, reaffirms that Internet companies do not have to actively filter their sites for copyrighted or trademarked material.
This seems the right decision, as how is a site supposed to be able to handle the case of private parties who wish to resell branded merchandise?
It is also in-line with the logic behind placing the burden of protecting brand sanctity with the brand owners.
Clearly, if a company can identify fraud regarding their brand, it should have a right to ask and have the offending item(s) removed from a venue and the venue operators should respond in kind to such requests.
Tiffany should not bring on ill will toward its own brand by appealing this too far.
Oh, those crazy Germans. What are they hoping to accomplish?
In short, customer and company should interact to verify the originality not ebay.
Ebay or any other company shouldn't be liable, but the purchaser should use common sense when making the purchase.
Authenticity can be confirmed on any of the products listed above by taking them into a retail location.