Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Tiffany v. eBay Appeal

Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the Tiffany v. eBay action, permitting a ruling to stand that places the burden on trademark owners to police infringements taking place on on-line auction sites. The Supreme Court’s denial of cert was without comment.

Critical to the underlying decisions of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York was that eBay was not itself the seller of the infringing goods, and that it acted promptly to take down auctions when it received notice that the goods were not legitimate. eBay reportedly has made investments of up to $20 million per year to stop fraud and infringements occurring via its site.

This action, which has been pending since 2004, has been carefully watched by brand owners and on-line retailers alike, since it examines the modern question of how responsibility for infringement should be allocated when third parties sell goods via an on-line marketplace. Given the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari, the brunt of that burden currently remains on trademark owners.

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