Federal court rules eBay has no duty to police trademarks

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A New York district court judge ruled Monday that Internet auction house eBay is not required to actively monitor its website for the sale of counterfeit goods. The decision comes in a case brought by jeweler Tiffany & Company, alleging that eBay diluted its trademark by facilitating the sale of "copycat" Tiffany jewelry. EBay argued that it had no responsibility to take proactive steps against the sale of counterfeit items.

The decision marks a dramatic contrast with recent rulings in Europe, where a French court earlier this month ordered eBay to pay $63 million in damages to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for failing to prevent the sale of counterfeit luxury goods. EBay said that it would appeal the decision. LVMH praised the holding as a victory for designers seeking to control the distribution of their merchandise or prevent the sale of "copycat" products. Last month, another French court ruled against eBay in a similar lawsuit for failing to prevent the sale of fake Hermès International SCA products.

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