Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Tiffany Sues eBay For Not Policing Counterfeit Items

from the more-of-the-same dept

It looks like it's going to be quite a while before companies realize that suing the service provider for something someone did on their service is a dead end. The latest is that jeweler Tiffany is suing eBay because users sold fake Tiffany items. Tiffany should be going after those who sold fake items, since they're the ones who have actually done something wrong, but apparently that's too difficult, and those people are unlikely to have very much money. So, instead, they just sue eBay -- even though the company has done nothing wrong themselves.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2004 @ 12:20pm

    No Subject Given

    Ebay is the dealer.
    Do you think Christie's or Sothby's would NOT be held liable for fraud ?
    Whats the difference ?
    Ebay gets a cut of every sale.
    Explain to us all how Ebay isn't involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 21 Jun 2004 @ 12:31pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      They're just the service provider. If they needed to verify that every item is properly labeled it would basically kill off eBay. It's the seller who is making the false claim - not eBay. They are not the dealer at all. They aren't selling the good. They are just an intermediary that lets someone else sell their goods.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Albert Godel, 21 Jun 2004 @ 4:34pm

        Re: eBay

        An auction house is not responsible for item's authentisity, this is why appraisers make so much money. If someone sells a knockoff of a famous painting, then the police will pursue the seller not the auction house. Tiffany's is just trying to sue someone with money, this only makes lawyers rich.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          vele, 22 Jun 2004 @ 9:41pm

          Re: eBay

          they are not a service provider. they are an auctioneer. ebay's sole purpose is auction, of which they take a cut, thus they are an enabler in the transaction. verizon is a service provider, but that service can be used for a ton of different things, and you don't pay per individual usage type (email, or online purchase), but for blanket service. thus ebay has limited liability if they knew of violations and of steps they could have taken to prevent it. only then will the law apply. as tiffany said, they have been warning ebay with individual auctions for a year, and ebay has refused to deal with some things. this means that ebay, per product liability laws, will have some liability towards tiffany. the laws can be tricky, but it's also a pile of BS for ebay to hide behind hands off approach when they have incentives to not crack down as hard as they can.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      aNonMooseCowherd, 21 Jun 2004 @ 6:32pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Ebay is not the seller. They are acting as a broker between sellers and buyers. The person listing the item is the seller.

      I'm surprised that Ebay doesn't require its customers to indemnify it against suits of this type. Or maybe it does but Tiffany figures they'll get more money (and publicity) by suing Ebay anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2004 @ 7:17am

    No Subject Given

    I said 'Hire a Lawyer' ... I should have said, 'Hire a SMART Lawyer.' .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Graham Johnson, 25 Sep 2008 @ 11:58am

    Counterfeit items on ebay

    We purchased some items to sell on ebay only to be told they were counterfeit by a customer. We checked into the items closely and found the customer was correct. We killed all our ongoing auctions and notified ebay and paypal of the individual, who was also selling on ebay, from whom we purchased the items. Both Paypal and Ebay stated that this basically was not their concern.
    The bottom line to them is the dollar. Tiffany has a legitimate case, even if they know it is fake, they will do nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Graham Johnson, 25 Sep 2008 @ 11:59am

    Counterfeit items on ebay

    We purchased some items to sell on ebay only to be told they were counterfeit by a customer. We checked into the items closely and found the customer was correct. We killed all our ongoing auctions and notified ebay and paypal of the individual, who was also selling on ebay, from whom we purchased the items. Both Paypal and Ebay stated that this basically was not their concern.
    The bottom line to them is the dollar. Tiffany has a legitimate case, even if they know it is fake, they will do nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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