Trademark Law

No Gold for Tiffany in Suit Against eBay for Knockoff Sales

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A federal judge in New York has ruled against Tiffany in its suit claiming eBay failed to prevent sales of counterfeit jewelry.

“What a difference 3,600 miles can make,” Am Law Daily writes. It points out that two weeks ago a Paris court fined eBay more than $60 million for failing to take adequate steps to bar the sale of fake Louis Vuitton products.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said eBay had acted quickly to remove fakes from its site after Tiffany notified the online auctioneer that its trademarks were being infringed, the New York Law Journal reports.

Sullivan turned down Tiffany’s suggestion that eBay should be responsible for removing listings for fake goods before they are published. “Tiffany must ultimately bear the burden of protecting its trademark,” Sullivan said. His decision comes after a two-day bench trial last November.

Portfolio.com says a contrary decision “would have imperiled the business model of Internet retailing.” The publication says the judge relied on a 1946 ruling against Coca-Cola in a trademark infringement suit seeking to hold a distributor liable for selling “Polar Cola” to bartenders who passed it off as the real thing.

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