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Rolex tells eBay it's lawsuit time

The watchmaker files suit over alleged counterfeit sales against the online auction giant's German subsidiary, according to an SEC filing.

Rolex has filed suit against eBay's German subsidiary, accusing it of trademark infringement and unfair competition, the auction company revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Rolex filed the suit in a German court April 25 against eBay GmbH and eBay International, wholly owned subsidiaries of eBay.

Rolex alleges that eBay customers sold counterfeit Rolex watches through the German Web site, infringing Rolex's trademark and resulting in unfair competition. Rolex is seeking an order forbidding the sale of Rolex watches on the Web site as well as damages.

In the SEC filing, eBay said, "We have meritorious defenses against this claim and intend to defend ourselves vigorously."

eBay has programs in the United States and Germany that allow companies to monitor sales and notify eBay if they believe their intellectual property rights are being abused. An eBay spokesman said Rolex participates in the program in the United States but not in Germany.

In other news, eBay revealed in the filings that it is seeking to renegotiate a contract with Walt Disney.

eBay signed a deal with Disney's subsidiary in February 2000 to provide auction services to the portal site. In that deal, eBay would pay a minimum of $30 million to over the four-year term.

Disney announced in January that it was shuttering the portal site, although modified versions of the portal and auction site are still running. eBay hosts an auction site for Disney.