EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1169 - December 09, 2005     1 of 9

eBay Asks Court for Injunction Against Perfume Bay

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As eBay heads to the Supreme Court to fight an injunction barring it from offering Buy It Now listings, it's asking for an injunction against Perfume Bay in a separate case involving trademark infringement. Perfume Bay is an online retailer founded in 1999 that offers fragrance, beauty and skin-care merchandise. The court ruled Perfume Bay was not violating eBay's trademark when the words in the company name were separated by a space, and ruled that the company is entitled to continue using its name, logo and slogan.

But the court ruled the company could not use Perfume Bay when depicted as a single word. The court issued an injunction against Perfume Bay's use of its URL perfumebay.com, telling the company it could use the URL perfume_bay.com.

The US District Court denied Perfume Bay's request for stay of the injunction when it argued that ICANN, the organization that controls the allocation of URLs, does not allow the use of an underscore in a URL. However, the court said, "given the arguable novelty of the questions presented by this case, the Court is cognizant of the fact that the court of appeals may differently assess Perfume Bay's likelihood of success." It stayed execution of the injunction for 30 days to allow Perfume Bay to seek relief from the Circuit Court.

The Appellate Court then immediately granted a stay of the injunction pending appeal, meaning Perfume Bay will be allowed to use the URL PerfumeBay.com until the appeal is finally heard and decided by the Appellate Court, which may take one or two years for resolution.

eBay has forced other companies to change their names and URLs through threats of legal action. BayPal.com changed its name to inkFrog.com; BrickBay.com changed its name to BrickLink.com; BidBay.com changed its name to AuctionDiner.com; and AlternaBay changed its name to AlternaBid.com.

eBay will head to a different court next year: it wants the Supreme Court to decide whether the Appeals court ruling in the MercExchange patent lawsuit case means courts must automatically issue an injunction in patent cases instead of using their discretion. The Supreme Court agreed last month to hear the case.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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