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E-Commerce Times Talkback

ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: E-Commerce and Brand Protection: A Two-Way Street

Re: E-Commerce and Brand Protection: A Two-Way Street
Posted by: Luis Alcalde 2008-08-12 09:09:15
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Does your business bear legal responsibility to police the infringement of one of your organization's most valuable assets, the company brand, on widely used Internet auction sites like eBay? That all depends on where the electronic commerce is being conducted, based on recently issued, conflicting court opinions from the United States and France. On July 14, the United States District Court Southern District of New York concluded that trademark owners, not e-commerce sites like eBay, carry the burden of ensuring that their intellectual property rights are not being violated.

IP Protection and Mass Fraud Aggregation
Posted by: LisaLMorgan 2008-08-12 11:27:01 In reply to: Luis Alcalde
I find this entire body of law fascinating because it actually involves a number of things. One important part of intellectual property protection is actively protecting your rights.

In today's real-time world of mass connectivity scale is a huge concern. On one hand with good tools electronic discovery of abuse may occur faster but with the proliferations of new media and technologies the problem becomes ever more complex.

This whole area is ripe for debate. As a brand the last thing you want to see is mass aggregation of copycat products on a place like eBay. And if you're eBay - an aggregator - you don't want to be placed in a position of being held potentially liable for all dubious transactions. The question as always is what is the right (most practical) balance.

I do think there are indicators of fraud as noted, price, descriptions, and the nuances that exist between genuine and copycat articles such as in materials, quality, type font, etc.

Combating fraud takes more than action from brand companies and aggregators like eBay, however. It also requires swift action from law enforcement and help from the community, although I imagine most community members would prefer not to get involved. If you've purchased fraudulent products believing however naively that they were genuine you might be more inclined to leave no feedback than bad feedback about someone who is engaged in questionable business practices or report that person to fraud@ebay.com.

Ultimately, there is no perfect balance and there never was. What's worse, in today's accelerating world, things are changing more rapidly than ever so the pace of the battle is increasing.

From the beginning there has been good and evil. That will not change. The best we can do is minimize harm as it cannot be completely eliminated and do what we can to educate those making decisions that affect us all.
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