Much like SOPA’s request for ISP’s to filter and block trademark infringing content online, Tiffany & Co. wants eBay to take similar action against counterfeit (and legitimate) Tiffany listings on their enormously successful auction website.
In 2009, Tiffany filed a claim against the online marketplace based on an abundance of counterfeit activity, stemming specifically from 2004-2005, when they instituted several “buying programs” to inspect listings claiming to sell authentic Tiffany products. Through this program, Tiffany purchased a number of goods from eBay and concluded that 75-80% of products were counterfeit. Based on the thousands of counterfeit listings on eBay, as well as eBay’s use of registered Tiffany marks in its advertisements, Tiffany filed a claim against them for false advertising, trademark infringement and trademark dilution. Although the Court found this study was unreliable in determining how many counterfeit listings existed at any given time on eBay, they held that it showed it was a significant number.
Tiffany requested that eBay block users from selling any Tiffany merchandise, despite the fact that eBay has already spent nearly $20 million on measures to protect intellectual property and the Tiffany & Co. marks specifically. Continue reading