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Sun May 20 2007 13:25:03

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

By: Ina Steiner

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A bench trial (without jury) in the eBay - Tiffany trademark infringement lawsuit had been set for May 14, 2007, but was adjourned due to the Judge's trial schedule. And according to court documents filed on May 8, US District Court Judge Kenneth Karas is referring the eBay-Tiffany lawsuit to Magistrate Judge James C. Francis for settlement. I am not an expert so I cannot comment on what we should expect to see.

Tiffany filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against eBay in 2004 and cited a study in which it concluded that 73 percent of items purchased on eBay were counterfeit. In December 2006, I wrote about eBay's objections to the way Tiffany conducted that study.

eBay has relied on its VeRO program to insulate itself from liability in these kinds of cases, but late last year, eBay went further.

In November, it rolled out a new anti-counterfeiting initiative scrutinizing all sellers who list items that are particularly susceptible to counterfeiting. In April, it updated the policy. From the sellers' standpoint, it's frustrating to see eBay delaying their listings and not knowing what items are being targeted.

eBay lawyers may be counting on those anti-counterfeiting initiatives to show the company is doing more to battle counterfeiting on its site.




Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: firemeg

Mon May 21 21:31:31 2007

Ina - have you seen any proof that eBay is checking listings as they said?  Has anyone mentioned in detail how exactly their "fraud filters" work?  I've seen obvious scam listings show up in high-fraud categories within minutes....blatant scams that anyone could tell were scams.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: RB

Tue May 22 00:54:35 2007

Meg - eBay's policies are not designed to protect buyers, sellers, or third parties.  Their policies are designed to protect eBay.  EBay hasn't figured out that user scams are bad for business, so I wouldn't expect eBay to proactively combat them except in response to a legal action.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Suzanne

Tue May 22 09:16:45 2007

I own a drop off store and I can tell you that our listings are heavily scrutinized for VERO violations and other infringements (keyword spamming, etc).  I have legitimate auctions pulled quite regularly and, although it is frustrating, it should make buyers more confident when they purchase items sold through drop of stores.  eBay simply can't police all auctions and so the big sellers accounts get micro-managed while the little seller can put up a listing for a conterfeit item and not get caught.  It's a shame when it happens but in the scheme of life, it's no big deal!  I just try to be extremely careful that I obtain proof of purchase from an authorized dealer when dealing with a VERO organization so that we know the items we list are authentic. And if the seller cannot provide evidence of authenticity, we don't take it- plain and simple.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Lee

Tue May 22 12:58:07 2007

I've heard that there are delays that can last for hours while Ebay checks the listings to see if their is fraud, but I've never seen any evidence of this.  When I list things, I can and do have people watching and even bidding within minutes on occasion.  

One listing I put up last night had a bid within 10 minutes, for example.  I have also heard of numerous sellers who have had legitimate listings taken down.  

So whatever Ebay is doing, it is very hit and miss and totally ineffective.

Fraud is rampant on the site, and can't even be talked about on the Trust & Safety board!  See the posts locked to the top by Avery@ebay.

Lee

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Ann

Tue May 22 13:00:35 2007

For those who still believe "eBay", actually cares about catching fraud, please read on. I had 18 REAL Victoria Secret gowns listed on ebay. They pulled every listing for Key Word Spamming. I then did a search and found 32,000 other listings with the full words Victoria Secret, not including those with VS or World Famous. When I alerted them to this, I was told to send individual listing numbers. Obviously, not something an individual would have time to do. If listings were removed uniformly, no one would mind but their selective removals are punitive, not to protect buyers. They have never tried to help law enforcement and are "creatively" appearing to care about fraud. If you get an email, telling you ebay is doing something to help you, RUN, as fast as you can.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: laurie

Wed May 23 03:51:10 2007

Ann...I actually took the time to report ALL individual auction numbers of a particular seller at one point. At least 15 of them. This person was blatantly spamming such names as Pucci, Chloe, Marc Jacobs and Dior. And they did absolutely nothing about it. I decided to RE-report the numbers again and still no response....well, aside from your run-of-the-mill ''Thank you for contacting us,'' yah-yah-yah. This person is still selling to this day and doing quite well.

YET... one of my best friends (who runs a totally up-and-up business with them) got a listing yanked for the words ''Poodle Skirt'' when it was a Scottie Dog applique on the garment!!!

But she, my friend, is just a small seller (less than 50K per year) . Go figure.

At any rate, the discrimination infuriates me. As does the obvious selective apathy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the rules don't apply to everyone involved.

I am actually visiting this friend as I write....she is launching her own website seperate from eBay in the Fall and I'm just OVERLY THRILLED(it's long overdue) I'm just happy that she'll finally be able to get out from under their thumb...and she's truly a visionary of her particular industry. I have no doubt she'll gradually rise to greatness (OR, at the very least, the freedom to breath a big sigh of relief at the end of each month).

The short of the long is that I really don't view the eBay enterprise as any more trustworthy than most politicians. They can pick and choose who they wish to target and who they wish to protect and all the while cower behind any number of excuses and exclusions and fanciful legal precedents.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: firemeg

Wed May 23 06:38:27 2007

The last two comments are things I hear regularly.  I believe that eBay's "fraud filters" are all a bunch of smoke and mirrors that serve two purposes.

1. Give eBay an excuse for indexing delays that sellers are still fuming about.
2. They served as a good PR speech by Meg at that internet security conference and by other eBay execs when issuing press releases and statements about how hard eBay is working to prevent fraud.

If I'm wrong, I'll gladly admit it.  Problem is though, that Rob Chestnut refuses to answer user questions about this issue.  There are several sites and many videos on YouTube that show obvious scam listings appearing on eBay within minutes in the search.

Now to me, either that means that Rob. C. is full of crap and trying to feed us this crap, or it means that these scammers have database access.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Ann

Wed May 23 12:16:32 2007

I posted about ebay's selective listing removals and have just read more of the feedback. Like many, I have a website and going in other directions. BUT check out Bidz.com. I don't like their products but the activity is ASTOUNDING. No matter what time day or night, people are bidding like crazy and prices are absurd for most items. I WISH some SMART company would create a live auction site again, allowing us to sell our goods live. It's addictive and people get caught up in the bidding, often paying 5-10 times what an item is worth. ME TOO. LOL That's the only exciting auctions left. Ebay has blown so many golden opportunities and shoved sellers out the door. I wish someone would open a new door for us.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Randall Foreman

Fri May 25 00:12:42 2007

eBay needs some good competition. Someone that has Customer Service and Real Humans to handle problems. Automatic answers and Automatic Customer service is all that you get at good ole GREEDY ebay. They must come down.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Roger Arnold

Thu May 31 10:24:49 2007

Ebay encourages counterfeiters.  They simply will NOT act on any reports by members. The Sellers of counterfeit Media know this and sell with impunity.  As a former member of Anti-Bootleg Alliance, a 126 member group dedicated to prevent the sale ofcounterfeit media, I have ALL this information. However, after 2 years Ebay basically shut us down....because we were getting out the truth and actively pursuing those counterfeiters.  I believe that Ebay's revenue is approximately 20-30% derived from the sale of counterfeit items. I hope tiffany sues and wins big.  The only time Ebay acts is to protect its financial interests.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: cheryl adams

Thu May 31 10:31:27 2007

EBAY LOVES THE SELLERS OF COUNTERFEITED GOODS!  There are multiple Power Sellers blatantly peddling counterfeited items. They often list them as good quality imports. Wise up people!  EBay is complicit in the biggest scam/fraud of the internet age!  Personally, I stopped buying on EBay...if you do,assume EVERYTHING is FAKE!

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Meg

Wed Jun 27 14:18:25 2007

GRRRR...EBAY....
They could care less about people or ethics. ALl they care about is themselves and their profits.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Sam

Mon Jul 2 14:10:11 2007

The only ones being hurt by VERO are the honest sellers. The fakes are back up and selling in less than a day.
Whats worse is the/your Competitors are the worst abusers of this program.
http://www.pugster.org/bad-ebay-bad-vero/

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Sylvia

Thu Jul 19 17:36:09 2007

I am a fashion journalist writing an article about this very thing. If you are willing to tell me your story, particular Cheryl and Laurie - please email me and I can tell you more.

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: sayla

Sun Jul 29 21:28:27 2007

ebay has us restricted once again.
we have over 99% feedback and they will not let us list not 1 item at this time.  they said we are in lower 1% of customer satisfaction. thats bull because bargainland and other big sellers are getting 1,000 negatives a month and they have no restrictions. at 90% or less.if you are big seller selling 300 items a day paying $1,000,000+ year in fees (yes a million)then ebay is your prostitute. ebay is going to hell. they said 30 day review but they havent lifted the restriction and we cant sell a thing. we need lawyers, we need media, we need to pull out the big guns for these awful people. they pick on small sellers like us and let big sellers get away with scamming people and selling fake stuff. dept of justice is help us!

What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit   What's Happening with eBay - Tiffany Lawsuit

by: Don

Wed Jun 25 14:12:25 2008

Can we get an update to this story regarding the status of the Tiffany v. eBay lawsuit?  I see that trial was held in December 2007, but I can't find a verdict, settlement or current status anywhere.  Thanks!



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