Quick Hits: Tough Luck, Tiff
Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.
Since 1995, eBay (EBAY) has broken down the barriers between luxury goods and the average consumer. And here's some good news for bargain shoppers with expensive tastes: Despite a recent lawsuit, the website will continue to make designer brands available to the little people.
A New York judge ruled in favor of eBay on Monday in response to luxury retailer Tiffany & Co.'s (TIF) lawsuit claiming that eBay didn't do enough to prevent the sale of counterfeit items. The judge found that it's Tiffany's -- not eBay's -- responsibility to protect its trademark. Sullivan also found that eBay quickly removed listings it knew to be counterfeit and suspended the seller's service.
This lawsuit is one of many involving Internet copyright and/or trademark law. With the unstoppable expansion of the Internet, the debate over who owns what -- in terms of intellectual property and trademarked products and services -- has gotten increasingly murky.
Viacom (VIA) is currently suing Google (GOOG) for YouTube's users uploads of copyrighted material. And a French judge wasn't nearly as sympathetic to eBay, ordering them to pay luxury distributor LVMH $61 million in damages for allowing counterfeit items to slip through the cracks on ebay.fr.
The complexity of Internet law has made it nearly impossible for any one decision to serve as the definitive precedent.
That being said, the recent eBay ruling's a victory for web merchants who sell trademarked goods - and for all the girls who would have gone without bling if eBay hadn't prevailed.
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