Tiffany appeals eBay counterfeit ruling
The court says eBay isn't responsible for counterfeit goods listed on its site
Tiffany filed its appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, seeking to overturn the trial court's failure to apply established principles of trademark law.
"We do not believe the law allows auction sites like eBay to continue to turn a blind eye to this problem while reaping profits from the listing and sale of counterfeit merchandise. Trademark law does not impose a duty on Tiffany to police eBay's site: eBay designed the site and has the responsibility to police it," said James Swire, a partner at the law firm of Washington-based Arnold & Porter LLP, in the statement.
EBay officials could not be reached for comment.
In an interview, Swire said Tiffany's arguments take into account previous circuit court decisions that ruled that a flea market operator, for instance, who becomes aware that counterfeit goods are being sold at the flea market has an obligation to investigate and take effective action against the sale of those counterfeit goods.
"If you look at a retail store, the same applies," he said. "Once a store owner knows there is a problem with counterfeiting, it has a duty to investigate and take action. In neither instance is there any obligation on the trademark owner to investigate what is happening on-site at the flea market or the retail store. Yet eBay has set itself up, and the [district] court seems to have agreed, that Tiffany has an obligation to police eBay's site. We don't believe that obligation exists in law, and we respectfully disagree with the district court decision."
In 2004, Tiffany sued eBay in federal court in New York, claiming that the online auction company didn't do enough to keep counterfeit goods off its Web site.
EBay disagreed, saying it did take steps to stop the sale of counterfeit goods through its Verified Rights Owners (VeRO) Program, which provides tools to help companies look for fake goods on the site. Under the program, if a company determines that a user is selling counterfeit merchandise, it notifies eBay, which immediately takes down the auction.
Last month, Richard Sullivan, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled that Tiffany, and not eBay, was responsible for monitoring the eBay Web site for counterfeit Tiffany goods and for bringing those counterfeit goods to eBay's attention.
That ruling was seen as a major victory for eBay in its fight with luxury goods companies over the sale of their merchandise — counterfeit or otherwise — on its Web site. Although the judge said he was sympathetic to Tiffany's claims, he noted that the law was clear and that the burden was on the trademark owner to police its mark.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big...
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
All Legal White Papers |