San Jose, Calif. -- Monday, July 14, 2008 -- eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY; www.ebay.com) today praised a federal judge’s ruling in the Tiffany vs. eBay trademark case, affirming the company’s leading efforts to fight counterfeits and to support consumer choice to buy and sell authentic merchandise online. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York also declared that eBay takes appropriate steps to remove suspected counterfeit listings as part of the company’s additional efforts to provide a safe and trusted marketplace. Furthermore, the court also found that Tiffany was responsible for policing its own trademark on eBay.
“We are extremely pleased that this ruling supports consumers by allowing them greater choice and value through the global marketplace that eBay provides,” said Rob Chesnut, senior vice president and legal counsel at eBay. “This decision validates that eBay has always been committed to fighting counterfeits in a way that goes beyond what the law requires. We see this as an important victory for our global community of buyers and sellers.”
Counterfeit items are prohibited on eBay. eBay pioneered the fight against counterfeits on the Internet, and its groundbreaking initiative, the Verified Rights Owners program, allows eBay to collaborate with over 18,000 rights owners to help eBay identify and remove counterfeits from the site.
“This ruling appropriately established that protecting trademarks is the primary burden of rights owners – not marketplaces like eBay,” Chesnut added. “The court ruled that eBay does in fact meet its responsibilities regarding counterfeits. We aggressively fight counterfeits not only to meet our limited responsibilities, but also because counterfeits hurt the eBay community - the millions of honest sellers building their businesses and buyers who come to eBay for great value and selection. That’s why we want to continue to work with rights owners to aggressively fight the sale of counterfeit items.”
The court's ruling is in line with well established legal precedent which holds that the obligation to enforce trademarks rests with the trademark holder.
“The promise of the Internet and companies like eBay has been the ability for entrepreneurs and small businesses to compete with big businesses by having access to a global distribution channel for legal and authentic items,” Chesnut concluded. “We will continue to aggressively protect our marketplace and the innovation and competition it inspires.”