The 2nd Circ. Stance on Tiffany v. EBay
On April 1, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed most aspects of the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Tiffany v. eBay.
Tiffany v. eBay is significant because it addresses whether the online auction site eBay may be liable under theories of trademark infringement or dilution for sales of counterfeit goods made through its site. Tiffany also addresses whether eBay may be liable for false advertising under these circumstances.
As we have previously written, the widely followed Tiffany case is part of a larger international effort by luxury good purveyors and other retailers to crack down on counterfeit sales of such goods made through eBay. The case is viewed as one that will provide guidance as to the circumstances under which online marketplace sites may be found liable under trademark-based or false advertising legal theories.
See, e.g., Duty on Trade Mark Owner to Police Its Own Marks, J. Intell. Prop. L. & Prac. Oct. 21, 2008; eBay: A Tale of Two Defenses, IP Law360, Aug. 22, 2008; Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc.: Guidelines for Online Retailers to Police Third Party Sales of Counterfeit Goods, Common L.J., July 29, 2008; Tiffany v. EBay: Trademark Owners Beware, IP Law360, July 16, 2008 (all available at www.arelaw.com).
In this latest decision, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Tiffany's trademark infringement claims (both direct and contributory) as well as Tiffany's trademark dilution claim, but remanded Tiffany's claim for false advertisement for further proceedings before the district court. See Tiffany (NJ), Inc. v. eBay Inc., No. 08-3947-cv, slip op. at 45 (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2010).