July 16, 2008

In a recent decision to a case filed by Tiffany & Co. four years ago, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Ebay Inc. was not liable for the sale of counterfeit Tiffany’s products on its website. In a 66 page decision (link below), Judge Richard Sullivan held that Tiffany’s failed to satisfy its burden on all asserted claims, namely direct and contributory trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and direct and contributory trademark dilution, which were asserted because “eBay facilitated and allowed [ ] counterfeit items to be sold on its website.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle online article via SF Gate (link below), “Companies such as Tiffany can notify eBay about suspected counterfeit listings, which eBay says it generally takes down within 24 hours,” and that “Non-trademark holders can also tip off eBay about fakes.” As further noted within the same article, “New York District Judge Richard Sullivan said eBay's isn't liable simply because it is generally aware that counterfeit goods are being sold on its Web site. Rather, eBay is only required to remove fraudulent listings after being notified about specific instances of trademark infringement, as eBay did with the fake Tiffany jewelry, the judge said.” Additional information regarding this decision, as well as the decision itself, is available at the links below.

S.D.N.Y. Decision: LINK
SF Gate Article: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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