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Online shopping sites such as eBay may be liable for trademark infringements if they play an "active role" in promoting counterfeit goods, Europe's top court ruled today.
In an eagerly awaited ruling with huge implications for e-commerce, the European court of justice in Luxembourg said national courts could order online retailers to stop such infringements and prevent similar incidents in the future.
In today's final verdict, the full panel of EU judges said it was the right of national courts to order companies such as eBay "to take measures intended not only to bring to an end infringements of intellectual property rights, but also to prevent further infringements of that kind".
The court said in a statement: "When the operator has played an 'active role' … it cannot rely on the exemption from liability which EU law confers, under certain conditions, on online service providers such as operators of internet marketplaces."
[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 5:50 pm (utc) on Jul 12, 2011]