EBay Inc. scored an important victory in court Monday, as a federal judge said companies such as jeweler Tiffany & Co. are responsible for policing their trademarks online, not auction platforms like eBay.
Tiffany had sued eBay in 2004, arguing that most items listed for sale as genuine Tiffany products on eBay's sites were fakes.
But U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan in New York ruled that eBay can't be held liable for trademark infringement "based solely on their generalized knowledge that trademark infringement might be occurring on their Web sites."
The judge said that when Tiffany notified eBay of suspected counterfeit goods, eBay "immediately removed those listings." Although the online auction company refused to go further, by preemptively taking down suspicious listings for Tiffany jewelry, the judge said eBay didn't have to make such a move.
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