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Tiffany suit "death blow" for Ebay's business model?

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / February 2, 2006 12:16 PM PST
Tiffany Sues eBay for Selling Fakes.

>> Tiffany & Company, the famous New York-based jewelry retailer, is suing San Jose, California-based online auction firm eBay for allowing its Web site to be used to sell counterfeit jewelry. The landmark lawsuit also alleges that eBay, in addition to facilitating sales of fake Tiffany goods, also makes millions of dollars from fees charged for counterfeit sales.

Two years ago, Tiffany bought several hundred items on eBay and found that three quarters of the items purchased were counterfeit. The Tiffany lawsuit, which originally was filed in 2004 in a New York State court, is expected to go to trial by the end of this year, according to press reports.

If Tiffany wins its case, eBay's business model could suffer a severe blow, as this would open the door for other brand owners to sue it over counterfeit sales. But eBay claims it is only a marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers, and cannot be held responsible for sales of counterfeit items. <<

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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i agree
by Mark5019 / February 2, 2006 12:23 PM PST

its not like they get to see items

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There's a basic axiom when buying from e-Bay...
by Jack Ammann / February 2, 2006 1:18 PM PST

...Caveat Emptor...e-Bay didn't represent these items as being genuine Tiffany merchantise. Maybe the seller did, in which case Tiffany should go after the seller. This is akin to someone suing a newspaper for someone selling a fake item out of their classified ads.

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eBay has a regulation
by Sasha Tee / February 3, 2006 3:22 AM PST

that you cannot say something is "Tiffany style" or any descriptive terms using the actual trademark for a name brand unless permission is granted. I agree that the buyer should beware on eBay as well as at a flea market. There is no way eBay can monitor the quality or verify every item sold on its site. eBay seems to have entered a different phase within the last few years. It's a lot more commercial but I guess there is still enough variety for buyers and sellers to enjoy.

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(NT) (NT) excellent analogy
by Dragon / February 3, 2006 10:01 AM PST
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(NT) (NT) Did you people know that ebay bought skype.
by Self-Destruction / February 2, 2006 1:43 PM PST
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With any luck, Dave,...
by Paul C / February 2, 2006 9:09 PM PST

...EBay's position will be upheld. By Tiffany's logic, I could sue a farmers' market or any such outfit that rents booth space to vendors if the product sold me by a vendor was defective or simply unsatisfactory.

I support Tiffany's efforts to protect it's brand name, but IMO there's only one reason it's suing EBay instead of the actual sellers - EBay has deeper pockets...

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