District Court Smacks Down Tiffany (Yet Again) In Fight With eBay Over Counterfeit Items

from the will-tiffany-ever-learn? dept

Back in April, we noted the latest in the rather long saga of Tiffany's legal fight against eBay. Tiffany had sued eBay, claiming that the online auction site was legally responsible for policing the site for counterfeit Tiffany items that users were selling. Despite the lack of a clear safe harbor (a la the DMCA or the CDA), the appeals court agreed with the district court that eBay was not liable for the actions of third parties on its site. The one area where the appeals court sent the issue back to the lower court concerned eBay's own advertisements. eBay had apparently run some ads that mentioned the availability of Tiffany products on the site, and Tiffany claimed this made them liable. The court noted that it didn't appear this was false advertising (as there was nothing false in the ads), but that it might confuse or mislead users. It asked the lower court to look into that specific claim.

It didn't take all that long, as the lower court once again sided with eBay and said that eBay did nothing wrong here:
"Tiffany failed to establish that eBay intentionally set out to deceive the public, much less that eBay's conduct was of an egregious nature sufficient to create a presumption that consumers were being deceived,"
You can also read the full opinion thanks to Eric Goldman:
The case isn't quite over yet, as Tiffany keeps appealing various aspects of it, but it certainly doesn't look good for Tiffany -- but does appear very good for anyone who believes in the principles of properly applying liability to those who did the actions, rather than the "easy target" third party (even in the absence of official safe harbors).
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: advertising, secondary liability, trademark
Companies: ebay, tiffany


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2010 @ 4:53pm

    "but does appear very good for anyone who believes in the principles of properly applying liability to those who did the actions, rather than the "easy target" third party"

    Like how techdirt always blames patents instead of blaming patent trolls when someone sues over a patent. No hypocrisy here, nope none.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2010 @ 5:01pm

    Re:

    If there were no patents or patent system, there would be no patent trolls.

    Patents are not a "third party", they are at the core of the issue (of patents).

    Or are you saying that when a system is clearly not working, you should ignore the bugs and just blame the users?

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Why didn't Tiffany spend all that money and resources tracking down the counterfeiters? They could have nailed a couple of them by now and possibly discouraged other from counterfeiting.

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

  4. icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 14 Sep 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    Next time use the search function and read just a little. And this article, if nothing else says otherwise...

    Big Time Patent Attorney Jumps Into The Patent Trolling Game By Buying 4,500 Patents From Micron

    ...Such is the state of our broken patent system.

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

  5. icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 14 Sep 2010 @ 5:31pm

    Re:

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2010 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re:

    If there was no legal system then there would be no lawsuits.

    Law suits are not a third party, they are at the core of the issue (of lawsuits).

    Or are you saying that when a system is clearly not working, you should ignore the bugs and just blame the users?

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

  7. identicon
    Greg G, 14 Sep 2010 @ 8:25pm

    Re:

    Because that would be too much work. Easier to try and sue the entity with all the cash.

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

  8. icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), 14 Sep 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Tiffany keeps appealing...

    Good luck with that ... NOT!

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

  9. icon
    mike allen (profile), 14 Sep 2010 @ 10:31pm

    pity the courts dont take the same stance with the MAFIAA et al.

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

  10. identicon
    Michael, 15 Sep 2010 @ 4:40am

    Re:

    When making a decision about who to sue, always take into account the size of everyone's wallet.

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

  11. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 15 Sep 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    Patent trolls are just one of the things Techdirt points to as a bad outcome of the patent system. You may have noticed that the site is full of broader economic arguments as well.

    Read up a little bit on the patent thicket in the tech sector. Those aren't patent trolls - those are big companies where waging an ongoing patent-war has become just another standard (and useless) part of daily business.

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

  12. icon
    PaulT (profile), 16 Sep 2010 @ 4:13am

    Not the same Tiffany, but I always try to help interesting independent productions as often as possible...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152828/

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Sponsored Promotion
Public Money, Public Code - Sign The Open Letter at publiccode.eu
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.