Spyderco is suing eBay for counterfeits

aleforme

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This lawsuit will be thrown out of court. Selling counterfeit items on Ebay is already against the terms of service.

How can Ebay be held responsible for dishonest vendors who sell counterfeit knives?

They do not have the ability or resources to evaluate the origin of every item sold on their site.

Expecting them to do so is absurd.

Unless Ebay is knowingly or negligently letting sellers sell counterfeits and or not taking appropriate actions to disallow them. Especially when things are sold and/or labeled "Clones" or "Counterfeits".

Ebay does have the ability and resources to weed out obvious clones and counterfeits when they are being labeled as such or there is text in the add that says so. Ebay is a massive company that can invest a little time and software adjustment to weed these out.

Now items listed as genuine when in fact they are counterfeits or clones, that is much harder to weed out. But, like someone mentioned above, I don't think that's where the focus of the suit is. If nothing else, this might force or convince Ebay they should be more diligent.
 

Casinostocks

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eBay has been sued many times in the past for trademark infringements but they did not lose in any U.S. courts AFAIK. There was this one case which they lost to Tiffany & Co but that was adjudicated in France. eBay absolves itself in the U.S. by using the VeRO program which will put the onus on Spyderco to become a VeRO member and to bounce suspected auctions and suspected sellers off eBay by using VeRO. Of course eBay does not like lengthy and costly litigation battles even though they know that they will ultimately prevail, but nothing that will not be remedied by spreading those litigation costs on their hapless sellers as a part of their annual fee increases and adjustments.
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act

This has been used by Backpage to successfully defend themselves in cases concerning sex trafficking. It has also been used by twitter to defend themselves in regards to ISIS using Twitter as a form of communication. It limits the liability of website providers in regards to content posted by third parties.

If you read Section 203 it states that there is an exception in regards to federally protected intellectual property.

Gucci has sued and won in a case where the defendant attempted to use Section 203 as a defense.

http://www.internetlibrary.com/cases/lib_case76.cfm

Basically, website providers are largely protected and have limited liability in regards to content posted by third parties. The exception is IP rights. If they are unaware of IP infringement then they are still covered but if they are aware of it they are in fact held liable. Ebay will need to prove that they were unaware which will be tough.

I am NOT a lawyer. I read a news article about Backpage.com and got curious about how they were able to successfully defend themselves and read quite a bit on Section 203 of the Communications Decency Act.
 
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Because they don't do anything even when obviously counterfeit listings are reported to them.

I have never sold anything on ebay, so not sure how it works or if this might sound naive. But one way to do it might be to make an incentive to report fake items and for the counterfeit seller to be penalized. Make every seller have a paypal or credit card account linked to ebay. If there is a counterfeit reported, ebay or a third party administrator company would review the report. If it's true that it's a counterfeit and the seller should have known, then seller is penalized $500. Half that goes to the person who first reported the item as fake. Some of that goes to the third party administrator and some to ebay as well.
The problem with reporting items as fake and ebay doing something about it, is that some people who report items as fake have no clue what they are reporting. Sure some people can spot a fake properly. But many report something but are mistaken. It happens here all the time. When ZT switched some of its knives to s35vn countless people weighed in with conviction that the knives were fake when they weren't. These are people who should know how to vet a fake. So if the membership of this site, a knife enthusiast forum cant why would anyone expect ebay could? Now it shouldn't be allowed on ebay that I totally agree with. But ebay has a responsibility to both the buyers and the sellers. If they went and shut down every auction because some random joe reported something without proof there would be very little of anything on ebay in the first place. If we started reward programs for reporting problematic auctions everyone would be reporting everything whether it was really fake or not. And then you would be leaving the responsibility of vetting these counterfeit cases to people who are completely unqualified to do so.

Now ebay could install software cues that would prevents someone from listing a fake if they use certain wording like "clone, fake, reaplica or copy. But guess what happens then? Then the people just list it as an original and still rip people off and it results in a bunch of claims and even bigger problems. At least with them listing things as a clone or a fake it gives consumers a leg up to avoid them if they wish to. Sometimes I think people look at this issue from a no compromise take no prisoners attitude. Which has done nothing to curb counterfeiting. I personally would rather know something is a fake right in the description.
 
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The problem with reporting items as fake and ebay doing something about it, is that some people who report items as fake have no clue what they are reporting. Sure some people can spot a fake properly. But many report something but are mistaken. It happens here all the time. When ZT switched some of its knives to s35vn countless people weighed in with conviction that the knives were fake when they weren't. These are people who should know how to vet a fake. So if the membership of this site, a knife enthusiast forum cant why would anyone expect ebay could? Now it shouldn't be allowed on ebay that I totally agree with. But ebay has a responsibility to both the buyers and the sellers. If they went and shut down every auction because some random joe reported something without proof there would be very little of anything on ebay in the first place. If we started reward programs for reporting problematic auctions everyone would be reporting everything whether it was really fake or not. And then you would be leaving the responsibility of vetting these counterfeit cases to people who are completely unqualified to do so.

Now ebay could install software cues that would prevents someone from listing a fake if they use certain wording like "clone, fake, reaplica or copy. But guess what happens then? Then the people just list it as an original and still rip people off and it results in a bunch of claims and even bigger problems. At least with them listing things as a clone or a fake it gives consumers a leg up to avoid them if they wish to. Sometimes I think people look at this issue from a no compromise take no prisoners attitude. Which has done nothing to curb counterfeiting. I personally would rather know something is a fake right in the description.
Good points, but that's why I think the report should first go to an administrator who'll determine whether it's a true report or a false report. If true, then the seller should be penalized. As for the second point, it's certainly true that the fake sellers would try selling without disclosing that they're fakes. But allowing the fakes to be advertised and sold as fakes, that just ain't fair to the companies that are being counterfeited. It's just not tenable IMO.
 
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If you read Spyderco's actual complaint they are saying that they, as in Spyderco themselves, have notified EBay of thousands of fakes. You should really read the thing before commenting on it. ;)

We are not talking about them ignoring the random notification of a fake. We are talking about the concerns of a company falling on deaf ears.
 

Mo2

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Spyderco should sue them to not allow any spyderco's to be sold via ebay from anyone. used or otherwise.
 
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Part of owning a trademark requires you to defend the mark against situations like this. Even if it means taking on what most folks would consider a hopeless fight.

The long term goal would be to make it less expensive for eBay to police itself vs. court battles.
 

sabre cat

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....I personally would rather know something is a fake right in the description.
Right. I would have to agree.

What would you prefer, a clone being offered with full acknowledgement in the description or what appears to be a PM2 with a price tag of fifty bucks? Copies and clones are going to be offered even if Spyderco wins the case.

I could go for ebay barring any seller that actively sells counterfeit products and coming up with a system to fine and/or drop sellers that do not disclose that a product is a copy or clone. Maybe have a warning banner pop up telling a buyer that the product they are looking at is a fake and does not meet the standards of the real product.
 
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Part of owning a trademark requires you to defend the mark against situations like this. Even if it means taking on what most folks would consider a hopeless fight.

The long term goal would be to make it less expensive for eBay to police itself vs. court battles.
This may very well be the reason, as I suspect it was the reason behind Cold Steel's ridiculous 'San Mai' legal threats.
 
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A couple of years ago I purchased an Ontario Rat 1 from ebay. I asked the seller before the purchase if it was a copy or real and they answered it was real. I was still suspicious and asked Ontario to look at the posting to verify if it was real or a fake. Ontario answered that it was real.

"The knives you see on ebay are not fake. They are custom made for one of our distributors.
Thank you,
Diane

Diane Stanbro
Sales Coordinator
Ontario Knife Company"

When it arrived something did not look right and I inspected it against another Rat 1 and also asked Ontario again with a description of what I suspected made it a fake.

"Diane:

I purchased one of these knives and I find it hard to believe that it is not fake. I have attached a scan of a RAT 1 that I am sure is genuine with the new purchase beside. I am having a hard time finding anything that matches.

You can clearly see that the handle shape is different and larger, the liner lock is not the same, the positioning of the thumb stud is different, the blade is wider and longer, the gimping is different, and the edges of the handles do not have a radius but rather a 2mm bevel.
There is not much the same even in that one image. The pocket clip is wider and has a slightly different shape. The blade stock is around 3.8mm thick compared to around 2.8mm on the black blade. The handle material seems to closer to a smooth cheap G10 instead of the plastic used in the black bladed one. There are only two pivot washers and both made of a a bronze. One washer is thicker than the other.

On top of this, the logo on the blade is larger and the text for blade steel and other things are all different sizes.

Do you really have Rat 1 knives made larger and different shape and design?

Thank you for your attention"

The response that yes it was a fake.

"This e-mail is in reply to your question regarding RAT Model 1 folding knives with some noticeable differences. Over the past few months, it has been brought to our attention that counterfeit knives are entering the market and being sold as our RAT Model 1's. While we have not actually seen or held one, I can give you some of the telltale indicators as noted by various persons who have received one and who also own one of our RAT Model 1's:

1. The overall knife size is larger and has noticeable differences in the shape of the handle.
2. The blade is larger; both the length and height of the blade, from top spine to the blade edge.
3. The blade spine is wider.
4. The screws are silver color; we only use black.

If you receive a knife that has one or more of the indicators referenced above, you may want to question whomever you purchased it from.

Sincerely,
Karen Roth
Sales & Customer Service"

I gave up worrying about reporting fake knives to them after this if they don't care themsleves. Luckily ebay gave me a full refund without question.
 
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This suit is a step in the right direction.
I don't think it will actually reach a verdict rather than a settlement, but it will raise awareness to the counterfeits sold on the site.
Although I have nothing against clones (on the contrary), I hate to see scammers try to push a counterfeit as a genuine knife and have reported some myself.
Guess what - I've checked after some time: the listing and the seller were still right there on the site.

The problem with reporting items as fake and ebay doing something about it, is that some people who report items as fake have no clue what they are reporting. Sure some people can spot a fake properly. But many report something but are mistaken. It happens here all the time. When ZT switched some of its knives to s35vn countless people weighed in with conviction that the knives were fake when they weren't. These are people who should know how to vet a fake. So if the membership of this site, a knife enthusiast forum cant why would anyone expect ebay could? Now it shouldn't be allowed on ebay that I totally agree with. But ebay has a responsibility to both the buyers and the sellers. If they went and shut down every auction because some random joe reported something without proof there would be very little of anything on ebay in the first place. If we started reward programs for reporting problematic auctions everyone would be reporting everything whether it was really fake or not. And then you would be leaving the responsibility of vetting these counterfeit cases to people who are completely unqualified to do so.

Now ebay could install software cues that would prevents someone from listing a fake if they use certain wording like "clone, fake, reaplica or copy. But guess what happens then? Then the people just list it as an original and still rip people off and it results in a bunch of claims and even bigger problems. At least with them listing things as a clone or a fake it gives consumers a leg up to avoid them if they wish to. Sometimes I think people look at this issue from a no compromise take no prisoners attitude. Which has done nothing to curb counterfeiting. I personally would rather know something is a fake right in the description.
Agree 100%.
As part of the settlement eBay should propose hiring folks who are experts in spotting fake knives (not just Spydercos), who will process those reports and determine if those are in fact counterfeits.
It will be a very hard task and not 100% accurate, but will improve the issue and make it better for everyone.
 
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Agree 100%.
As part of the settlement eBay should propose hiring folks who are experts in spotting fake knives (not just Spydercos), who will process those reports and determine if those are in fact counterfeits.
It will be a very hard task and not 100% accurate, but will improve the issue and make it better for everyone.

Why just knives? Fake knives likely make up less than 0.1% of the fake stuff on there. What about all the fake baby products, fake name brand clothing, fake luggage, fake OEM car parts, fake dog toys, fake Otterbox phone cases, fake Nitecore and other flashlights, fake sunglasses, fake sports memorabilia, fake Apple products and the list goes on and on. Maybe they can take a look at the fake auto parts that are likely to kill someone. We need to step outside our little knife world on this one and see the big picture.

You endorse knives made by companies who have no respect for IP rights. I question where you really stand on this one.
 
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I admittedly have not read most of this thread :oops:, however, I do not see how e-bay can be held responsible for fakes which are sometimes difficult for knife enthusiasts to detect. Spyderco had to make a move, and I commend them for it but some agreement must be reached it seems wherein Spyderco finds an offender and e-bay takes action if the accusation is correct. Complicated. :confused: Please pardon me if I am repeating what has already been stated.
 

skyhorse

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Ebay is an online flea market , they don't know the difference between a fake and the real deal. The sellers would have to be pursued in any civil action and they are likely judgement proof. Anyone that gets burned on ebay has no one to blame but themselves for being to cheap to purchase from an authorized dealer. My 2 cents.
 
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