EBay wins ruling against Tiffany

Wow! I didn’t expect this.

A federal judge Monday came down on the side of eBay, the dominant online marketplace, in an epic battle with one of America’s leading luxury brand names, Tiffany.

The court handed eBay a crucial victory in a trademark case that could help settle how far an online marketplace need go to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on its Web site.

Tiffany, which has cultivated an image of quality and luxury in its offerings of jewelry, sterling silver and crystal, sued eBay after it found knockoffs of its wares being sold on eBay at cut-rate prices.

But the court ruled that Tiffany was seeking too much control over online sales at eBay, which included not just fake Tiffany goods but legitimate secondhand items as well.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in New York ruled that it is chiefly Tiffany’s responsibility, and not the Internet auction giant’s, to police and protect against misuse of its brand name…

I expect Tiffany will appeal. This isn’t over yet.