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Tiffany bites the dust as eBay prevails in 2nd Circuit

A couple of days ago, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decision in
Tiffany v. eBay, No. 08-3947-cv, slip op. (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2010). The Court largely held for eBay and affirmed the District
Court’s 2008 ruling in eBay’s favor on the trademark infringement and dilution claims.

The Court of appeals did remand the case to the District Court for further consideration on the false advertising claim, so we will have to see what happens here. There is no way around the conclusion, however, that ebay has prevailed in this decision and that trademark owners will have a harder time with the online auction house from now on.

In the lower court, Tiffany alleged that the majority of “Tiffany” goods offered by vendors on eBay were in fact
counterfeit. Tiffany claimed that by using the TIFFANY mark in its advertising, by failing to take
more drastic measures to stop the sales of counterfeit Tiffany items, and by advertising in such a
way as to mislead consumers into believing that all Tiffany items sold on eBay were genuine, eBay
had engaged in direct and contributory trademark infringement and false advertising. The District
Court entered judgment against Tiffany on all claims.

I’m afraid I have to shake my head at this decision, one that continues the split globally as French courts and others outside the US continue to hold in favor of trademark owners against ebay.

There is a very good post on the 2nd Cir. opinion up on IPAlly, http://www.IPAlly.com, by noted trademark lawyer Ron Coleman. Don’t miss it.