So you think your brand is protected online? On April 1st, a NY Appeals court upheld a 2008 ruling that said EBay was not liable for trademark infringement when fake Tiffany jewelry is sold on its site.
It's not just about jewerly. Every manufacturer needs to consider the impact of this decision on their business. There are constant knock-offs for products, everything from consumer goods to industrial hardware. This ruling basically let's the 'market places' like EBay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc off the hook when it comes to products sold on their sites.
EBay will likely have to change some of its disclaimers, but who reads those anyway? The most distrubing part of this of this ruling is that EBay will not be required to police itself to ensure there are not counterfeits on their systems.
Worse still, EBay will be allowed to continue to use the Tiffany's trademark on their sites and ads, provided that they include the aforementioned disclaimer.
Bottom line for any manufacturer - you need to police all the different channels of the web yourself, don't assume its being done for you.
Case: Tiffany v. EBay, 08-3947, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit