Back to court for eBay and Tiffany

Tiffany is not taking this lying down. Last month judge Richard Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York rejected its claim that eBay had not done enough to keep knockoff merchandise off of its site.

Then today, like clockwork, Tiffany filed its appeal, bringing the matter to the 2nd Circuit Court. This was expected, and quickly praised by the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition, a nonprofit group devoted to combating counterfeit and piracy.

“Tiffany’s decision to appeal is the right thing to do,” said IACC President Bob Barchiesi in a statement, calling Sullivan’s ruling “disappointing.”

In his opinion, Sullivan wrote that, “Tiffany must ultimately bear the burden of protecting its trademark.”

Sullivan said that while he was sympathetic to Tiffany’s plight — that is, seeing knockoffs of its coveted brand name kicking around on eBay for a fraction of their value — he said “The law is clear: It is the trademark owner’s burden to police its mark, and companies like eBay cannot be held liable for trademark infringement based solely on their generalized knowledge that trademark infringement might be occurring on their Web sites.”

That ruling followed two decisions in similar cases involving luxury brands handed down in European courts, where the judges ruled against eBay. The first was brought by Rolex in Germany, the second in France by LVMH, the parent company of brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

Barchiesi didn’t pull any punches: “Stated simply, the French court got it right.”

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