Legal Matters. eBay vs. Tiffany & Co…Another Blow?

July 14, 2008 • Fashion


eBay just keeps getting their proverbial butt kicked. There may be a ruling as soon as today in Manhattan on a lawsuit in which Tiffany & Co. has argued that eBay is a
distribution network that allows the trading of counterfeit Tiffany
merchandise. eBay continually defendeds itself as an online market
that simply links buyers and sellers.

Should Tiffany win the case, eBay’s business model could be shattered because of the burden of policing
a site that had 83.9 million active users and 647 million new listings
around the world, in the first quarter of this year. It could also open the way for similar lawsuits
against eBay.

Tiffany has
asked the court to mandate that eBay change its processes to eliminate
counterfeit silver Tiffany merchandise. eBay has contended that it
can’t determine the authenticity of items up for sale because it never
takes possession of any of the goods and does everything it can to keep
counterfeits off the auction site.

EBay also has argued that
policing is the obligation of Tiffany, the trademark owner, because the
jewelry company has the ability to identify counterfeits of its

filed the lawsuit in 2004, contending that its employees found that 73% of 186 silver jewelry pieces they bought on eBay that purported
to be from Tiffany were counterfeit.

France on Friday, Paris’ Court of Appeal ordered eBay to stop selling
all LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned fragrances and cosmetics on
the French version of eBay.

I don’t know about you, but I am now thinking twice about buying that new Miu Miu bag. In the back of my mind I always think…when I tire of it, I can always sell it on eBay. Maybe no longer. Sad.

Read "Ruling Near in Tiffany, eBay Battle" here.

Source: WWD

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