Iws 6


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Iws 6

  1. 1. Tiffany (NJ) v. eBay, Inc. 2010 WL 1236315 (2d Cir. April 1, 2010)
  2. 2. Facts: <ul><li>Tiffany sued eBay, claiming that eBay should be held liable for trademark infringement when sellers offer counterfeit Tiffany goods on the eBay site </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence established that eBay quickly takes down listings when Tiffany sends notice that it believes a specific item is not genuine </li></ul><ul><li>However, Tiffany want eBay to police listings on its own, and to be held responsible for any counterfeit items it missed - attempting to expand trademark law </li></ul>
  3. 3. District Court Decision <ul><li>eBay preserved most of its 2008 district court victories </li></ul><ul><li>Judge endorsed eBay’s various efforts to reduce the sale of counterfeit goods on its site and provide extrajudicial recourse to brand owners </li></ul><ul><li>Tiffany didn’t invest enough in its police efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Prescribes a notice-and-takedown regime similar to DMCA system (eBay specific) </li></ul>
  4. 4. District Court Decision - Cont’d <ul><li>Tiffany’s trademark infringement claim </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on nominative use defense </li></ul><ul><li>eBay is free to tell people that it sells legitimate Tiffany goods </li></ul><ul><li>Buying “Tiffany” as the keyword trigger for ads doesn’t constitute a trademark use in commerce </li></ul>
  5. 5. Second Circuit’s Decision <ul><li>eBay isn’t directly liable for trademark infringement based on its advertisement activities due to the normative use doctrine (even though the Court did not adopt the doctrine) </li></ul><ul><li>eBay isn’t secondarily liable for counterfeit sales because generalized knowledge is not enough and eBay followed a notice-and-take down procedure </li></ul><ul><li>eBay isn’t liable for direct trademark dilution on the unadopted nominative use doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>Rejected the lower courts reliance on a nominative use defense to the false advertising claim </li></ul><ul><li>Remanded the case for further proceedings for re-examination of the false advertising claim </li></ul>
  6. 6. Direct Trademark Infringement <ul><li>Never expressly adopted the nominative use defense </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to 9th Cir. standard: “a defendant may lawfully use a plaintiff’s trademark where doing so is necessary to describe to plaintiff’s product and does not imply a false affiliation or endorsement by the plaintiff of the defendant” </li></ul><ul><li>eBay referenced Tiffany to describe accurately the genuine goods offered for sale on its website </li></ul>
  7. 7. Contributory Trademark Infringement <ul><li>Lockheed v. NSI (9th Cir.) - articulated an online standard </li></ul><ul><li>2d Cir. punted and said that parties agreed to use the Inwood standard : two ways in which a defendant can become liable: (1) if the service provider intentioanlly induces another to infringe; or (2) if the service provider continues to supply its service to one whom is knows or has reason to know is engaging in trademark infringement </li></ul><ul><li>Inducement is not an issue </li></ul><ul><li>Take down notices provided generalized knowledge and that was not enough </li></ul><ul><li>Court defined “willful blindness” - “when a service provider has reason to suspect that users of its service are infringement a protected mark, it may not shield itself from learning of the particular infringing transactions by looking the other way” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Dilution <ul><li>There cannot be blurring or tarnishment when the defendant makes a nominative use </li></ul><ul><li>eBay didn’t sell the goods itself, so it did not commit that dilution </li></ul>
  9. 9. False Advertising <ul><li>eBay provided hyperlinks, purchased advertising space on search engines, and sometimes provided a link to eBay’s site </li></ul><ul><li>These statements are not literally false because genuine Tiffany merchandise was available on eBay - but District Court must conclude that these ads are not likely to mislead or confuse consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Court rejected nominative use defense </li></ul>
  10. 10. Implications of this Ruling <ul><li>Trademarks are subject to notice-and-takedown rule </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves the door open for Tiffany to challenge eBay’s advertising policy </li></ul><ul><li>2d Cir. does not address whether it adopted the nominative use defense or the standard for contributory trademark infringement </li></ul><ul><li>eBay specific case </li></ul>