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Try It Now: Tiffany v. eBay

Just in time for holiday shopping -- not to mention engagement ring season -- Tiffany has finally proceeded to trial against eBay, claiming that the "overwhelming majority" of "Tiffany" jewelry sold on the auction site is counterfeit. 

Should Tiffany be responsible for monitoring sales and reporting fakes to eBay?  Or should eBay have to take a more active role -- or else be liable for damages, by analogy to a landlord who knowingly profits from illegal activities on the premises?  A bench trial in the Southern District of New York, presided over by Judge Richard Sullivan, is expected to answer questions pending since 2004, when Tiffany filed its original complaint.  But whether the judge is a fan of little blue boxes or of shopping victoriously, one thing is certain:  If and when he issues a decision, there will be an appeal. 

For more information and analysis, visit Peter Lattman at the WSJ Law Blog (original complaint & answer included) and Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion (whose original analysis of the subject may have inspired Tiffany). 

UPDATE:  And for still more commentary, including quotes from your favorite law prof, check out Amy Scott's broadcast on Marketplace and Liza Casabona's analysis in WWD.  Thanks for calling -- and for talking to me in transit, between Amtrak announcements!