Red Herring reports that American jeweller Tiffany is suing eBay for facilitating the counterfeiting of Tiffany’s goods, false advertising, and trade mark infringement of Tiffany items in violation of the Lanham Act. Tiffany conducted sample purchases of 200 goods sold as having been made by Tiffany during 2004 and claims that 75% of these goods were fakes. eBay’s complaint states that

“The eBay web site is currently, and has been, infested with many thousands of counterfeit Tiffany items, many of poor quality, which ... has directly led to the defrauding of thousands of consumers".

Tiffany is seeking an injunction against eBay preventing it from selling any items on its site that have not been made, sponsored, or approved by Tiffany and is asking the court to award Tiffany three times the profits eBay made from selling any counterfeit items, or alternatively $1 million for each counterfeit mark for each type of jewellery sold.

To the IPKat this sounds like a cross between Grokster and cases such as the one in China where the owner of physical premises on which others sell counterfeit goods have been sued for trade mark infringement. If this case was to succeed it would have a catastrophic effect on internet auction sites since it would be unrealistic to expect them to verify if the goods put up for sale by individuals were genuine.
eBAY SUED FOR TM INFRINGEMENT eBAY SUED FOR TM INFRINGEMENT Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 Rating: 5

1 comment:

Eddie Powell said...

I have been alerted to a case in the UK where the operator of a car boot sale was found to have aided and abetted the sale of pirated DVDs in the market - the best report I can find is on the ACG website http://www.a-cg.com/docs/Banks_AidAbet.pdf. As far as I can tell it's not reported.

Eddie Powell

Fladgate Fielder
25 North Row
London W1K 6DJ

Main tel:: +44 (0) 20 7323 4747

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