“In case you aren’t aware of this, MANY (over 60%) of the “100% guaranteed authentic” items you see on Ebay are 100% FAKE! Replicas are sold all over the internet so they end up on Ebay. This guide is to show you some more information on the counterfeit situation and how easily these replicas are being purchased.” Warning on eBay website. [link]
Yesterday’s New York U.S. Disrict Court decision exonerating eBay for trademark infringement based on the sale of counterfeit Tiffany products on its auction site is receiving a great deal of attention in legal (and particularly trademark law) circles. The decision is quite extensive, and will be of enormous interest to lawyers (and their clients) who deal with the problem of user-caused online trademark infringement. For a thoughtful discussion of the case I recommend Professor Eric Goldman’s discussion on his Technology and Marketing Law Blog. And watch for the appeal to the Second Circuit (the most influential trademark circuit), which I predict is a lead-pipe cinch.
Of course, when it comes to eBay and Google, when one case ends another begins. In early July Rosetta Stone, the foreign language software-based learning company, sued several companies it accuses of “piggybacking”: paying Google to have their ads appear when someone uses Google to search for Rosetta Stone. Think, consumer searches Hertz car rentals, and along with Hertz sees paid ads for Thrifty, Enterprise or Dollar rentals. These companies are “piggybacking” on Hertz’s good will by associating their ads with searches of Rosetta Stone. Is this illegal? The piggybacking ssue is still working its way through the court, and is presently is pending before the Second Circuit in Rescuecom v. Google.