Yesterday, the long anticipated trial between Tiffany & Co. and eBay began in Manhattan federal court . The case centers on
online duties and responsibilities in regard to intellectual property
The issue? Is whether eBay is liable for the sale of
counterfeit merchandise through its Web site. In the lawsuit, initially
filed in 2004, Tiffany charged eBay with direct and contributory
trademark infringement as well as other claims.
this case has a wide-ranging impact; it may define what duties an
online seller has to a trademark owner with regards to policing
counterfeits," said Scott Christie, partner, McCarter & English,
and a former federal prosecutor of computer crime who is not involved
in the case.
prevails in the lawsuit, eBay could be held responsible for counterfeit
items being sold through its Web site. EBay has argued that it has done
a lot to work with brand owners, primarily through its Verified Rights
Owner Program, which allows brand owners to report and knock down
auctions that are reportedly selling counterfeits.
owners have contended however, that they bear the burden to
find the Web sites, and that eBay is shirking the full extent of its
luxury brands have said over the past year that they are watching the
case with interest as to how it will affect their own efforts at brand
protection. Indeed, Tiffany is not the only luxury goods company to
file a lawsuit against eBay.
likely Tiffany hopes the trial will take away a vending point for
counterfeiters and drive them into darker corners and less desirable
online locations, Scafidi said. The fear, she cautioned, is that a
ruling could make it too expensive for eBay to continue to do business.
has made valiant efforts to work with eBay to seek the removal of
counterfeit goods from its Web site. However, eBay has not been willing
to confront and prevent the massive fraud on its site in any meaningful
way," Tiffany said in a statement about the litigation.
spokesman said that the company was disappointed that the matter had
gone to trial and that the company felt it had actively supported
Tiffany’s brand protection efforts, but that it would vigorously defend
We will keep you posted.
Read WWD’s "Tiffany-EBay Trial Tests Online Retail Liability"See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40