eBay Strikes Back, Sues For Frivolous DMCA Takedowns
from the good-for-them dept
For quite some time we’ve seen companies try to make bogus intellectual property claims against people reselling their products on eBay. For example, a company making shampoo once claimed that you couldn’t resell its bottles online — even when legally purchased. The companies always claim that only “authorized” resellers are allowed to sell their products, and they must do so at a specific price. Last year, when the Supreme Court changed rules about whether manufacturers could demand retailers abide by a specific price, it kicked off speculation that we’d see more such cases. In fact, that’s exactly what happened. In one case, a company named Innovate! Technology claimed that someone selling their products on eBay violated their intellectual property (including patents, trademarks and copyright!). The real complaint, of course, had nothing to do with intellectual property, but that this seller was selling below the company’s official pricing. This seemed pretty ridiculous already, but these types of cases are designed to scare off small time sellers who don’t have big legal guns to back them up.
However, Innovate appears to have made a huge strategic error that has brought some big legal guns into the case, and they’re clearly pointed at shooting Innovate’s use of the DMCA down. Greg Beck writes in to note that while the case was directly between Innovate and the eBay seller, Innovate made the mistake of pushing to get eBay involved in the case. Normally, eBay just does what’s required of it in DMCA cases and gets out of the way. However, now that eBay is involved, it got involved in a big way. It’s fighting back against Innovate, claiming that Innovate has been filing bogus DMCA requests and so now eBay is seeking damages, attorney’s fees and an injunction preventing Innovate from filing any more DMCA notices to eBay. In other words, it’s trying to make an example of Innovate. Hopefully it works, and others pursuing this same strategy of trying to stop legitimate competition through bogus DMCA notices will think twice before continuing.