Thursday, December 15, 2005

eBay Shanghai sued for alleged Trademark Infringements

Danish company Aktieselskabet AF sued eBay Shanghai because it operated the servers of sites where products were offered that allegedly infringed trade marks of the plaintiff. Beijing no. 2 Intermediate People's court accepted jurisdiction, but defendant eBay challenged this on the ground that their servers were located in Shanghai.

"The trade marks in question were licensed by the Plaintiff's subsidiary company, Bestseller Clothing (Tianjin) Ltd (Bestseller). At the beginning of 2004, Bestseller discovered a lot of female apparel bearing the trade marks "ONLY" and "VEROMODA", and male apparel bearing the trade mark "JACK&JONES", being sold on and without authorisation.

The infringing goods were being sold at less than half the price of genuine products. It also found 73 ebay shops with names such as "ONLY Shop", "only for ONLY products" and "only for VEROMODA" on the Defendants' websites.The Plaintiff argued that as the Defendants were allowing infringing products to be offered for sale on their sites in the context of such trading information, and actual sales had occurred, the Defendants had constituted trade mark infringement. The Plaintiff sought compensation of RMB 200,000 (approximately US$ 24,200).

Plaintiff's attorney, Mr Yang, said, that the Plaintiff had brought the case not for compensation, but to demonstrate to Ebay Internet Services Providing (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Ebay Trading Co., Ltd (Ebay) that it should not allow infringing sales to take place on its websites. The Defendants' attorney, Mr Gao Jun, argued that the Defendants were merely providing a trading service. They did not take part in the actual business dealings, there were not, therefore, infringing.

In September, an individual was brought to Qingdao Intermediate People's Court for setting up an ebay shop named "Ku Mi Li" and selling counterfeit products on the eBay website. Although . were sued for trade mark infringement, the Court ruled that the individual had engaged in trade mark infringement, but the Ebay operators had not as they were not party to the actual business dealings."

Source: Rouse & Co. Internatonal China IP Express

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