A federal appeals court ruling on Thursday largely favored eBay Inc. in its legal battle with Tiffany & Co. but left the jewelry firm with one leg to stand on.
In an opinion two years in the making, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan certified an earlier decision that eBay was not liable for trademark infringement or dilution for the sale of counterfeit jewelry on its site. The three-judge panel overseeing the case stood by a lower court’s finding that eBay had taken adequate measures to block known counterfeit dealers and that it is ultimately Tiffany’s responsibility to patrol its own trademarks.
Circuit Judge Robert Sack, who authored the opinion, wrote that Tiffany’s appeal sought too broad an understanding of current law. Sack further noted that eBay itself has an interest in keeping bogus wares out of its listings, writing that “…private market forces give eBay and those operating similar businesses a strong incentive to minimize the counterfeit goods sold on their Web sites.”
The appeals panel did grant a smaller victory to Tiffany by returning its previously dismissed claim of false advertising to the lower court for reconsideration. The jeweler has asserted that eBay misled consumers in ads on its own site and third-party search engines that linked to possibly fake Tiffany goods.
Tiffany chairman and chief executive officer Michael Kowalski said his firm was “very disappointed” by the overall decision. The company said its attorneys were reviewing the ruling and would consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“As an e-commerce leader, eBay has a responsibility to protect consumers and promote trust in its marketplace,” Kowalski said. “EBay knew that counterfeit merchandise was being sold on its site — and eBay took no effective steps to stop it. EBay deliberately misled consumers for profit and, unfortunately, the court has justified its actions. The consumer is the real loser today.”
Meanwhile, eBay general counsel Michael Jacobson said the opinion validated the San Jose, Calif.-based Web firm’s anticounterfeiting efforts.
“We continue to support cooperation, rather than litigation, as the best way to address these issues in everyone’s best interests and we remain confident that the one remaining issue in the case will be decided favorably on remand,” Jacobson said.
New York-based Tiffany first brought suit against the online marketplace in 2004. It alleged a majority of the “Tiffany” goods for sale on the site were counterfeit and that eBay was contributing to infringement by offering a venue for their sale. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Sullivan sided with eBay and dismissed the suit in July 2008 following a weeklong bench trial.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye