eBay 1, Tiffany’s 0

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

Tiffany was in the news this week, not for a new line of diamond rings or earrings but because it lost the long-running lawsuit it’s had with eBay about the sale of counterfeit Tiffany goods on the site. Tiffany maintains that eBay knowingly encouraged sellers to dilute Tiffany’s value and trademarks by not putting a stop to counterfeit Tiffany listings on the site. Rather than resting with eBay, the burden for identifying counterfeit goods rests with Tiffany, who have to report counterfeit listings to eBay and have eBay remove them. EBay argues that like YouTube it’s up to the trademark holder to report false listings, and they already take enough action against counterfeit items because these are bad for their marketplace.

This American ruling is interesting because it diverges from recent findings in European courts. In Germany a ruling for Rolex found that eBay must make greater preventative measures against the sale of counterfeit Rolexes, and in France eBay was ordered to pay Louis Vuitton 40 million euros in damages for the sale of counterfeit goods.

Counterfeit goods damage brand value–if discovered, they’ll upset people who purchase them and receive them as gifts; they mock the effort that people make to show their love and appreciation for one another. The takeaway from this case is that one needs to be careful when make purchases from a source that hasn’t been completely vetted. When a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

[Photo by minxlj]

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