Court Rejects Tiffany’s Appeal on eBay RulingApril 06, 10
A U.S. court of appeals on Thursday upheld a lower court’s ruling that eBay cannot be held liable for trademark infringement, meaning it is not responsible for the sale of counterfeit Tiffany & Co. items on its website.
Tiffany sued eBay in 2004 after notifying the online retailer that 73 percent of a random sample of supposed Tiffany silver jewelry offered on the site was counterfeit. Tiffany sought a ruling that would require eBay to remove counterfeits from its site, which it says made up the majority of the Tiffany jewelry items posted for sale on eBay.
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that eBay is meeting its responsibilities in fighting counterfeiting under trademark law, the online retailer said in a release.
“The ruling validates eBay’s leading efforts to fight counterfeiting and its commitment to providing consumers with choice and value in a safe and trusted marketplace,” Michael R. Jacobson, eBay general counsel, said in a statement.
Tiffany & Co. criticized the decision “that allows eBay to continue to sell counterfeit Tiffany products on its website,” the retailer said shortly after the ruling was made public.
“While the decision leaves room to establish Tiffany's claims for false advertising, it leaves in place a prior ruling which allows eBay to profit from counterfeit sales. This decision will not help innocent consumers who are being victimized by illegal e-commerce practices,” it added.
Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co., expressed disappointment by the court's decision. “As an e-commerce leader, eBay has a responsibility to protect consumers and promote trust in its marketplace,” he said. “eBay knew that counterfeit merchandise was being sold on its site - and eBay took no effective steps to stop it. eBay deliberately misled consumers for profit, and unfortunately, the court has justified its actions. The consumer is the real loser today.”
Tiffany announced that its attorneys are performing a full review of the decision and will consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.