eBay Rights Owner Summit

By: Richard Brewer-Hay

Here’s one I missed last week. Sandwiched in between eBay’s earnings announcement and the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, eBay hosted a closed door Summit in New York for some key rights owners, who are some of the most proactive members of eBay’s VeRO program (the program in which eBay partners with rights owners so they can report potentially counterfeit items), and law enforcement.

Picture 4I’ve covered the issue of counterfeits in the context of news and related lawsuits on Ink before. A common theme that has run through those posts has been one of collaboration and how I believe it should not be the sole responsibility of eBay to fight the global issue of counterfeiting.

I spoke with some of our legal and trust and safety folks who organized the event and apparently we invited over 30 companies and associations; however, a large majority of them did not attend. The cynic in me wondered if the event was boycotted because they were dissatisfied with eBay’s efforts, but a member of our legal team said that, in his experience, when the rights owners do not think we are doing enough – eBay certainly hears from them, and they would have taken the opportunity to attend our event to make their feelings known.

Before I could utter the words: “Yes but you’re a lawyer, you would say that” he backed it up with this fact I hadn’t heard before – last year eBay proactively removed as many listings as all VeRO members combined. Something I wasn’t aware of.

Some of the attendees included the International Trademark Association (INTA) Nokia, Bose, and Chanel . I wondered if the brands in particular were unsatisfied with what we are doing, but it seems it was more a case of them wanting to get an update or learn more about eBay’s efforts and the tools available to them.

One of the new features that was received favorably was one that had been asked for at previous events. Namely, the ability to have the opportunity to streamline a report to eBay if listings seem to be offered by a user whom the brand owner had previously kicked off the site due to VeRO violations.

eBay also shared the great trust and safety efforts we have made on the back-end, securing customer’s eBay accounts and the eBay site, plus how we are stopping “the bad guys” (who previously were the ones knowingly trying to sell counterfeit items) coming onto the eBay site in the first place.

I asked one of eBay’s legal team, Dan Dougherty, to sum up what the event meant to him and eBay he said: “I think that the atmosphere was positive, and it would be fair to say that the people who attended seemed to feel like eBay does a good job, which was great to hear.”

I’d be interested to attend one of these events in the future to get more info for folks.

Cheers,
RBH