Someone's listening...

  1. I have been receiving numerous emails from potential ebays buyers via "contact seller". Only they are not potential buyers, they are counterfeit products advertisements. The content are as below:

    Hello,
    we are group of sellers providing for several years LV's Bags of highest standarts. Prices starts at $90.00 a bag including shipping. If you want to know more don't hesitate to contact me at xxxxx@hotmail.com
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards,
    Online traders
    , OR

    Welcome to www.xxxx.ful.cn, the largest online retailer of footwear for the entire family. Our goal is to provide our customers with an LOUIS VUITTON-shopping experience, offering the best selection of brands and styles in a convenient and friendly shopping environment
    Website : www.xxxx.ful.cn
    Email address : xxxx@yahoo.com.cn
    MSN(email) : xxxx@hotmail.com
    Skype Account: xxxx@hotmail.com

    I hid their contact details here so I am not helping them to promote their frudulent activities. I reported this to eBay, all they said was "transaction that take place outside of the eBay site are not eligible for our protective services", "We are concerned about violations on the site and have thoroughly investigated your report", "I can confirm that the members you reported are no longer registered users..." These are obviously mass emails sent out randomly like spams on hotmails, senders' IDs are fake names such as kbnn77 and kbnn88. Has eBay's system been invaded by crooks? Can ebay rectify this (if free emails providers like hotmail and yahoo can not)?

    On another note, I came across this article and am glad to know that someone is doing something at least.

    The real deal: Lawyers wage war against fakes on Web JACQUIE MCNISH From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

    Most working days, law professionals in the New York offices of Torys LLP sit at computers and scour the Internet for cheap designer goods. Shouts of "Bingo" ring out when unbelievable deals are spotted.

    The lawyers and paralegals are not searching for bargains, it should be explained, they are trolling for litigation work.

    "If it's a Gucci necklace on sale for $75, you don't have to be a genius to figure out that this stuff isn't real," said Torys lawyer Louis Ederer.

    Mr. Ederer should know. Gucci America Inc., which typically charges thousands of dollars for a single piece of its jewellery, is one of a number of high-end designers that has hired the trademark litigator and his New York team to defend their brands against a tidal wave of counterfeit goods flooding Internet auction sites. His other clients include tony jeweller David Yurman, women's label XOXO and jeans label Edwin Co. Ltd.

    "There's rampant counterfeiting going on at these sites and my clients in the luxury goods sector are very focused on this problem," he said.

    No one disagrees that sales of fake designer goods are pervasive on the Internet. What is disputed, however, is who is responsible for cleaning up the counterfeit mess. The fight has generated some harsh new shopping laws, innovative litigation and increased demand for trademark lawyers such as Mr. Ederer, who must be part gumshoe, part geek and part litigator to protect clients' brands.

    The stakes are rising in the war against knockoffs. Last year, Italy passed a new law requiring shoppers to pay thousands of dollars in fines if they were caught buying fake goods.

    In the United States, one of the country's most prominent jewellers, Tiffany & Co., filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against on-line auction giant eBay Inc., claiming the Internet auctioneer was contributing to trademark fraud by failing to properly screen items sold on its service. After an investigation in 2004, Tiffany found 73 per cent of 186 pieces of Tiffany-labelled silver jewellery sold on eBay were fake. The auctioneer has responded that it frequently shuts down auctions when alerted that items are fake, but argues it has no responsibility to verify the authenticity of items sold through its on-line service.

    Mr. Ederer has heard this argument before. Until recently, his practice was focused largely on pursuing traditional "bricks and mortar" stores that sold knockoffs of designer jewellery, clothing and accessories. He is one of a number of U.S. litigators who has recently made strides in the war against brand pirates by persuading courts that retailers have a legal responsibility to help ensure the goods they sell are not counterfeit.

    In 2003, a district court judge in Atlanta agreed with Mr. Ederer and his client, clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger Licensing Inc., that a retail chain operated by Goody's Family Clothing Inc. should have paid attention to warning signs when it sold over 90,000 fake Hilfiger T-shirts at its 350 stores.

    The court found that Goody's failed to take sufficient steps to verify the authenticity of the shirts and ordered the retailer to pay nearly $9-million (U.S.) in lost profits to Hilfiger.

    Will the willful blindness argument prevail in Tiffany's case against eBay? Trademark specialists will likely have to wait until the end of the year to find out, when the case is set to go to court. What will be tested in this case is whether Internet-based auction sites have the same legal responsibility as bricks and mortar stores to be alert to counterfeit goods.

    If the court agrees with Tiffany that eBay should be more vigilant, a wave of lawsuits can be expected against other Internet vendors such as Yahoo Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

    EBay has argued that its website services are not comparable to retail stores because it operates merely as an exchange that brings buyers and sellers together. Furthermore, it has a verification program in place that allows more than 12,000 brand companies to alert eBay about fake goods on its site. Once alerted, eBay removes the disputed product.

    Mr. Ederer argues that pulling fakes off websites isn't enough.

    "These websites are operating like real stores. They collect commissions on the goods sold and they give a stamp of approval to sellers that represent the worst of counterfeiting," he said.

    Until the Tiffany case is resolved, trademark lawyers such as Mr. Ederer spend much of their time looking for knockoffs on the Internet.

    His staff of about half a dozen lawyers and paralegals use specialized search programs almost daily to hunt for fake jewellery, purses, and designer clothes. Once they've made a find, they report the discovery to their clients, who then decide whether to pursue the case internally or hire Mr. Ederer to take legal action against the sellers.

    If Torys is retained, Mr. Ederer says he typically contacts the on-line vendor to request they knock down the item from the website. After that, he said he asks the Internet host to provide names and addresses of the person or company selling the disputed goods.

    Most trademark investigations these days, he said, lead to Russia and Eastern Europe, where it can be very difficult to uncover the identity of counterfeit producers. If he can't locate the illicit manufacturers to seek damages for their trademark infringements, he said he usually contacts U.S. and Canadian customs officials to alert them to the names of suspect vendors.

    Despite all these precautions, Mr. Ederer says the clients are not winning much ground. "Every time one or two counterfeit items get taken down from a website, two more pop up on another site. It is insidious."
     
  2. Oh man, that's be awesome if I could be one of those lawyers out to sue !
     
  3. All these fakes are so depressing, I'm glad to hear that someone's taking legal action. Only wish they could sweep ebay clean once and for all...
     
  4. Good article. That's good news.
     
  5. Finally