Failures

by Dennis Yang


Filed Under:
alarm clock, auctions, clocky, first sale, trademark

Companies:
ebay, nanda



Nanda's Alarm Clock Not Only Runs Away From You, It Runs Away From eBay Too

from the wake-up-nanda dept

It looks like more tangible product companies are trying to pretend they can restrict what you do with legally purchased products post-sale (perhaps they're jealous of content companies). Case in point: my brother received the Nanda Clocky as a gift awhile back -- it's a pretty novel alarm clock, when it goes off, its wheels turn on, and it jumps off your dresser, forcing you to climb out of bed to turn it off. Since he already had an alarm clock that worked for him, he decided to sell it on eBay. A few days before his auction was supposed to close, he got a notice that his listing was removed for a "Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Item." Yes, for a legitimately owned product. The email stated:
"Nanda Home Inc. is the owner of the intellectual property rights pertaining to these listings. By listing the 'Clocky' product you are in serious violation of the company's rights. Additionally, Nanda Home does not permit the re-sale of any of their brand product on eBay. There are no authorized Nanda Home re-sellers on eBay. If you continue to list our items, further legal action may be taken."
Clearly, Nanda has a gross misunderstanding of the right of people to re-sell their own property. While it's true that it is against the law to sell counterfeit copies of a product, re-selling your own goods and representing them as "real" is completely within the bounds of the law, and eBay policy. To make matters worse, the condescending tone of the email also suggests that:
"You may need to take a tutorial. The next time you sell, you may be asked to take the tutorial, if it's required. Once you've completed the tutorial successfully, please review your account status for any other possible concerns. If there are no other issues, you should be able to sell again."
Or, perhaps Nanda and eBay should take a tutorial on the right of first sale. In the aforementioned tutorial, eBay clearly understands the right to re-sell (in fact, a huge part of its business relies upon this fact). Yet, to make matters worse under eBay policy it's still a laborious process to get the item relisted -- even with the bogus takedown notice. As a seller of an incorrectly taken down Clocky listing, you have to contact Nanda and have them specifically authorize your product to be re-listed. Yes, even though it's Nanda who issued the incorrect takedown in the first place. So much for frictionless commerce.

The even bigger problem is in the process in which such listing takedowns are handled. Under the guise of rooting out counterfeit products, Nanda is able to unfairly reduce the number of its own secondhand goods in the marketplace. Other manufacturers have tried to do this in the past for everything from shampoo to radar detectors. And, much like the DMCA process, this "guilty until proven innocent" approach ultimately hurts the consumer, who now has unfairly reduced access to many products that were to be sold completely legally.

That said, my brother followed the eBay process to get his Clocky relisted. They sent him an email apologizing for their error and authorizing him to relist, which he did. Guess what? In an effort to punctuate how ridiculous this policy is, one day later, he got an email, "Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Item."

Anyone want to buy a Clocky?

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  1. icon
    DocMenach (profile), 21 Oct 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Re: wait a sec...

    After sending a challenge to ebay on the takedown notice and getting the item re-listed, doesn't some burden of proof then fall on Clocky people before they can reissue a take down for the same item?

    That is exactly where the problem lies. While the burden of proof should be placed on Nanda to prove that there is some actual infringement, eBay's policy is that the burden of proof is on the person who posted the item to prove that they are not infringing. They then compound the bad policy by allowing the same listing to then be challenged again by the trademark holder, putting the burden of proof again on the person who posted the listing.

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