Fighting Fakes with eBay

eBay calls for brands to join forces to combat counterfeits

eBay UK today announced a new anti-counterfeit campaign to recruit members of the consumer electronics industry to work in partnership with the online marketplace to tackle the global challenge of counterfeits online.

Counterfeits are a global problem and their availability damages consumer confidence and impacts the reputation of rights owners and legitimate businesses alike.

The new anti-counterfeit campaign, ‘Fighting Fakes with eBay’ is part of eBay’s ongoing commitment to drive down the number of fake consumer electronic items sold on the site. The campaign will encourage rights owners to join eBay’s Verified Rights Owner programme (VeRO) and use their expertise to ensure that potentially fake items are removed before consumers are able to purchase them.

Doug McCallum, Senior Vice President, eBay Europe said: “Counterfeiters’ sophistication keeps increasing, making it ever harder to differentiate a genuine item from a fake.

We invest millions of dollars annually to prevent potential counterfeits from appearing, and millions more removing from our sites the few that slip through. Clearly, as we do not have the expertise to assess the authenticity of every branded product, we are unable to tackle the problem alone.”

“The fight against counterfeits requires a coordinated and global approach – with Governments, rights owners, law enforcement and industry working together to combat the issue. We hope this latest anti-counterfeit initiative will raise awareness and put the VeRO programme and the support it offers, front of mind with rights owners.”

Steve Baker, Director of Intellectual Property Management Services (IPMS) commented: “IPMS protects the intellectual property rights of a number of brands, including professional and consumer audio electronics specialist, Shure Distribution UK.

We work closely with our partner rights owners. We are experts in their specific trademark policies and we have the tools to enforce these policies online, including on sites such as eBay. We’ve been members of the VeRO programme for 5 years and it means we can easily report infringing listings directly to eBay and get them removed quickly. The programme also means that we can contact eBay users who may unwittingly have listed a counterfeit item and educate them on trademark policies.

As a monitoring service, we support eBay’s new anti-counterfeits campaign to raise awareness of the VeRO programme and drive recruitment of new rights owners. Working together with sites such as eBay is an important way for rights owners to tackle the global issue of counterfeits online.”

99% of all items listed on eBay have no suspicion of counterfeit. In 2008, eBay hosted 2.7 billion listings globally, with only 0.15% of them identified as potentially counterfeit. Ongoing dialogue and cooperation with brand owners rather than litigation is the only way to reach 100% authenticity, which is why VeRO is so vital.

Notes to Editors:

Established in 1998, the Verified Rights Owner Programme (VeRO) is free for any rights owner and provides an easy-to-use system which allows them to report an item as potentially counterfeit with eBay promptly removing them. eBay has also developed a number of reporting tools, which simplify how rights owners search and notify them of any suspect listing. It is quick, free and simple to join the VeRO Programme. eBay automatically enrols rights owners the first time they submit a Notice of Infringement form. All rights owners need to do is fill out and fax the form to eBay, specifying the potentially infringing listings complete with an original authorised signature. What eBay does to fight counterfeits • There are currently 31,000 VeRO members globally • Globally, 2.1 million listings were removed in 2008 following VeRO reports from rights owners. Proactively eBay removed a further 2.1 million potentially counterfeit listings • 100% of listings reported to be counterfeit are removed • 70-80% of the reported listings are removed within 12 hours, 75% of them within 4 hours • In 2008, eBay suspended approximately 30,000 sellers • eBay also blocked 40,000 previously suspended sellers from coming back by using stronger identity verification methods