Ebay has won a US legal challenge from Tiffany & Co over the sale of counterfeit goods just weeks after losing a similar case to Louis Vuitton. The US court ruled that the burden was on the luxury jeweller to police its trademark.
The ruling comes just weeks after French courts ruled in favour of Louis Vuitton last month and fined the online auction site £32m for not preventing the sale of fake Louis Vuitton products on its site.
The decision in the Manhattan federal court means that Ebay will not be forced to make sweeping changes to its auction system. A ruling against Ebay could have required the company to inspect goods to check them for authenticity and possibly block the sale of items identified as high risk.
Tiffany had sought to shift the responsibility for policing trademarks to Ebay but the judge in the case, which has lasted four years, ruled that the responsibility lay with Tiffany and that Ebay had fulfilled its legal obligations.
The judge said that the court was “not unsympathetic” to companies that have invested enormous resources into developing their brands only to see them exploited on the internet. But he added that companies like Ebay could not be held liable for infringement based solely on the knowledge that trademark infringement might be occurring on their website.
It is thought Tiffany is likely to appeal the decision.