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Analysis From a Brand Owner Perspective of Tiffany v. eBay

Posted December 9th, 2010


This article originally appeared on LAW.COM. Re-posted with permission by the author.

Supremes Say: ‘You’re On Your Own’ — Analyzing Supreme Court’s Decision Not to Review Tiffany v. eBay

by Janet Satterthwaite

December 08, 2010

In Tiffany v. eBay, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling in favor of eBay Inc. on the key issue of contributory trademark infringement, as well as direct infringement and dilution, but remanded on the issue of false advertising.

On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court declined to review the case, in effect leaving brand names unprotected against the sale of counterfeited goods bearing their names on eBay.

The upshot of the holding is that despite a general knowledge that a significant percentage of Tiffany & Co. goods sold on eBay were counterfeit, eBay did not have a duty to prevent any such sales unless and until a specific instance of fraud was brought to its attention. The fact that eBay did take prompt action after reports of counterfeits and invested in quality control influenced the court to find that eBay was not willfully blind to the existence of counterfeits.

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