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Mon Nov 22 2010 21:23:28

Zynga Engages in Trademark Wars on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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An eBay seller who had listed a Zynga "Mafia Wars" Tshirt on eBay received a VeRO complaint last week. The email notice from eBay states, "Your item was removed because of a request we received from Zynga Game Network, Inc., a member of our Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), asking us to remove the item for: Item(s) is a counterfeit product which infringes the trademark owner's rights."

The seller said he had acquired the authentic shirt from a Zynga employee at a giveaway in Los Angeles, and promised to fight the takedown notice.

Zynga is no Tiffany - it's not even a clothing designer. It publishes the popular Facebook games Farmville and Mafia Wars. The company itself is embroiled in a trademark dispute - rival Digital Chocolate sued Zynga for alleged trademark infringement over Mafia Wars, having published a game of the same title in 2004.

In a letter to Zynga's Jay Monahan, the seller said that in return for removing the claim on his eBay account, he would agree to not list any Zynga product in the future on eBay, and wrote, "I'm giving you 48 hours to contact eBay and retract your takedown notice."

Otherwise, he wrote, he would "file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and equitable relief in the form of an injunction ordering you to retract your takedown notice."

The name Jay Monahan, Zynga's Deputy General Counsel, may sound familiar to readers - he headed Intellectual Property at eBay for over 8 years. He is no novice to legal disputes on both sides of the Intellectual Property issue, defending eBay against lawsuits such as MercExchange's patent dispute and suing sites such as PerfumeBay for trademark infringement.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Mon Nov 22 23:37:09 2010

veRo  is completly out of control on eBay,it is just like the little quiz you have to take after a  veRo takedown ...........IDIOTIC

Hope the guy gets his day in court and pummels the ex eBay prik who has caused so much dismay to eBay sellers

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by: Jim This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 23 08:16:27 2010

Yep, but I sent a similar letter to Microsoft.  

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by: Troglodyte

Tue Nov 23 12:35:39 2010

Seig Heil, Fuehrer Donahoe!

Read about petty tyrant psychopaths here (link must be cut and pasted):

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by: Another Wronged Seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 23 12:45:59 2010

The VERO program is a mess. A vero member can take down any listing that they THINK is theirs.

Several years ago I had a listing taken down for VERO. It was an overseas manufacturer of a product. The company first contacted me asking me stop selling the product internationally since I was selling it for less WITH shipping than they were selling it for. At this time, they never claimed it was a counterfeit only that they held worldwide distribution rights to it. I furnished them with my suppliers name. A TV shopping channel that I had purchased them from as a closeout.

For several weeks I never heard anything from the company.

Ebay than sent me a vero notice that I was prohibited from selling ''counterfeit'' products. I emailed them with copies of my invoice from the tV shopping channel showing the item, pages from their website selling the same item and pictures of the item, packaging, and instructions all showing the authenticity of the product since the tv shopping channel had sold over a hundred thousand of these. No reply from ebay... Numerous more emails from me with only one reply with the same copy of their original email alleging it was a ''counterfeit''

Vero allows copyright owners to bully sellers and the attitude is you are guilty. I asked ebay what proof would be acceptable in light of the mountain of evidence I had already provided. No reply from ebay. I emailed them a copy of the first sale doctrine pertaining to copyright infringement. No reply. The manufacturer alleging the counterfeit had sold it to the shopping channel, who sold them to me but vero and ebay stopped me from selling it.

is a joke.

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by: busymom

Tue Nov 23 13:35:27 2010

If you go to ebay and type in Mafia War shirt the first two listings that come up are BOOTLEG shirts from Hong Kong. I guarantee you ebay will NEVER take those listing down.

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by: shjames

Tue Nov 23 14:38:20 2010

Here is a major component of ebay's REAL Vero standard:

If  the party filing the Vero has the ability and enough money to either sue ebay or create a boatload of negative publicity, then ebay does something.

If the party doesn't have the ability or means to do one or both of the above, then ebay claims they can do nothing.

I sell Native Amerian jewelry all of which is made in and around the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi reservations in the Four Corners region of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

Thousands of artists are spread out over hundreds of thousands of miles most without telephones, internet access, and only those who can pay for satellite TV or net access have it which is a miniscule minority.

Most of them are literally struggling to feed their families and have no attorney to represent their interests in the marketplaces where their work is sold. Those that are aware of the fraud, which includes copying their work right down to their hallmarks, are afraid if they complain, the traders will stop buying from them as there is at least one Albuquerque manufacturing shop copying other artists' work.

Several industry experts that I well acquainted with with decades of experience have looked at ebay and say that well over 80% of the jewelry listed as Native American and Native American "vintage, pawn, and estate" jewelry is made in Asia primarily in China and the Philippines.

Native American jewelry is protected by federal law under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act passed nearly 20 years. It's a federal crime to list any jewelry not made by a registered member of a federally recognized Indian tribe as Native American made.

This ebay states every time a seller lists an item in any of the Native American jewelry categories.

I have reported these violations for years including one example where a photograpgh in the "Native American Bracelet" ebay listing clearly showed the back of the bracelet stamped with "Made in Jordan."

An ebay CSR admitted to me more than a year ago that ebay was well aware that "we have a serious problem in this category." He said ebay was taking steps to clean up the category.

He was wrong. Either someone lied to him or he lied to me. In either case, ebay has done absolutely nothing and never will until someone sues them very publicly or they start getting bad publicity for all the counterfeit jewelry being sold in this category.

In the meantime, I;'m sitting on a very substantial inventory that won't sell because the fake stuff sells for some much less.

In many cases, howlite (a white stone that sells in the rough for $20.00 a ton) dyed with Tidy Bowl, plastic, and glass are being sold as authentic "rare and valuable turquoise" and the so called sterling silver is actually nickel silver or silver plated.

Some of the highest rated sellers with TRS badges and lots of logevity are selling these fakes.

Ebay does nothing while honest sellers who sell authentic items and represent their items correctly are going under.

And ebay wonders why it's lost so much market share. Ebay is probably the single largest venue for Indian jewelry, the the fact that ebay will do nothing to stop the fraud is putting hundreds of American artisans out of business every year.

The truth is that ebay promotes fraud because they profit it, and John Donahoe and his management have absolutely no integrity or ethics.

The other posters who've noted that ebay is anti American and pro Chinese are correct.

Ebay management preys on the defenseless.

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by: Phil
Web Site

Thu Dec 30 11:56:30 2010

Very Interesting... Great article, ty ;)

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