The rare, exclusive yellow diamond that Tiffany has included in its latest collection
Tiffany loses eBay appeal
By Sonia Nair
Tiffany & Co has lost its appeal claim of false advertising against eBay after an American federal appeals court ruled in the auction retailer’s favour.
Tiffany alleged that “although eBay knew that a substantial portion of Tiffany goods sold on its website was counterfeit, it nevertheless advertised that Tiffany goods were for sale on eBay,” according to a court document.
The federal appeals court Judge Richard J Sullivan concluded there was insufficient evidence that eBay had misled or confused customers. Although customers had complained of counterfeit goods they had bought on eBay, there was no evidence to suggest that they were misled by eBay’s advertisements, the court said.
Tiffany also failed to prove that “eBay [had] intentionally set out to deceive or mislead consumers” because it did not provide any survey data demonstrating a significant number of customers had been deceived.
According to Sullivan, eBay had taken steps to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on its website by setting up a trust and safety department, investing in its fraud engine to seek out counterfeits and launching the Verified Rights Owner Program on its website.
Tiffany first filed a lawsuit against eBay in 2004 in relation to the internet retailer’s sale of counterfeit Tiffany jewellery.
After a drawn-out battle, Sullivan ruled in 2008 that eBay was not liable for trademark infringement and false advertising.
In April this year, a federal appeals court upheld the trademark infringement ruling but reinstated Tiffany’s false advertising claim.
In its current ruling, the court recognised that eBay removed auctions on counterfeit goods upon request and allowed it to continue selling counterfeit products on its website. According to the court, “eBay itself did not sell counterfeit Tiffany goods - only the fraudulent vendors did.”
The case is being viewed as a benchmark ruling for internet companies who host services but remain unaccountable for the trademark violations that occur on their websites.
Price increase on fancy yellow diamonds
Separately, Laurelton Diamonds, which supplies yellow diamonds to Tiffany & Co and is a polishing subsidiary of the jewellery giant, will implement a 25 per cent price increase on exclusive, rare yellow diamonds from the Ellendale mine in Western Australia. The price increase was agreed upon between Laurelton and Gem Diamonds, which owns the Ellendine mining subsidiary, Kimberley Diamond Company.
Gem Diamonds chief executive Clifford Elphick said in a statement, “The long term agreement with Tiffany & Co, spanning the economic life of the Ellendale mine, continues to provide a sustainable platform for Kimberley Diamonds’ mining operation.”
“This shows the benefits of partnering with such a highly regarded brand and major player in the diamond jewellery and retail sector,” Elphick said.
The new price will come into effect on October 1. Tiffany launched its yellow diamond collection in Perth in the middle of this year.
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Posted September 20, 2010