Posts Tagged: "ebay"

From the Flea Market to the Online Marketplace: How Brand Owners are Fighting to Keep Infringers at Bay

Trademark and copyright enforcement remains a significant challenge for licensors of popular brands across sports, entertainment, fashion and other industries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of three dozen industrial countries, estimates counterfeit goods account for 3.3% of global trade. Brand owners cannot rely on the belief that their trademark and copyright registrations will be respected, and they cannot confine their enforcement to demand letters and traditional intellectual property litigation. Rather, a brand owner must avail itself of additional approaches to address both traditional and newer platforms offering infringing products. We continue to see an increase in online infringements, especially in connection with certain e-commerce sites and targeted advertisements on social media. Under the current law, enforcement against online providers can be difficult, particularly when compared to traditional infringement hot sports in the brick-and-mortar marketplace. Flea markets, swap meets and other brick-and-mortar shopping venues reported verdicts and settlements in the last 10 years that confirm commercial landlords/owners can be held liable for the trademark infringement activity of their tenants, with courts around the country extending liability for trademark infringement beyond just the party selling infringing products.

Senate Hearing on STRONGER Patents Act Highlights Sharp Split on Injunctive Relief, IPR Fixes

On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property convened a hearing titled Innovation in America: How Congress Can Make Our Patent System STRONGER. The hearing focused on the STRONGER Patents Act, a piece of legislation that has been reintroduced into both houses of Congress, the Senate portion of which has been co-sponsored by the Senate IP Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), fellow Subcommittee members Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). Sources at IPWatchdog’s Patent Masters Symposium this week said that the bill still faces many obstacles to passage. However, according to Senator Coons’ Office, the bill has wide bipartisan support in the House as well. The panel for the hearing was evenly split between supporters and detractors of the proposed law, and most of the discussion focused on the injunctive relief and inter partes review (IPR) provisions of the bill.

Brand Enforcement in the Amazon Age: What You Need to Know About Project Zero

As online marketplaces have been created and subsequently evolved over time, there always seems to be a point where counterfeits and diverted gray-market goods make their way onto those marketplaces. eBay was one of the first e-commerce sites that gave brand owners and trademark owners the ability to review, monitor and take down infringing goods. This program was called VERO (Verified Rights Owner Program). Alibaba and Amazon are now making their own similar efforts to rid their platforms of counterfeit and infringing goods in an effort to keep the big brands interested in selling on their sites.

House Hearing Highlights China, E-Commerce Contributions to Cluttering of U.S. Trademark Register

At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet this morning, titled Counterfeits and Cluttering: Emerging Threats to the Integrity of the Trademark System and the Impact on American Consumers and Businesses, members of Congress expressed concern over the steep rise in trademark applications by Chinese filers, many of which have been found to be fraudulent. The problem has been exacerbated by poor enforcement on the part of platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart; by the limited authority of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to revoke registrations once issued; and by incentives offered by the Chinese government in the form of subsidies to Chinese applicants for U.S. trademarks, said panelists.

Startups with Patents are the Ultimate Anti-Monopoly

Patents are often referred to as monopolies. But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of how patents work to enhance competition. The truth is that a patent is a natural anti-monopoly. In a functioning patent system, inventions become investible assets when they are patented, and the value of the invention increases as market demand increases. Because of the direct relationship between market demand and patent value, a patented invention can attract enough investment to compete with entrenched incumbents in the market for the invention. This effect introduces new competitors into the market who are protected against incumbents for a long enough period that they can survive after the patent expires. Thus, patents act to increase competition by introducing new competitors into the market and thereby create competitive markets. But perhaps even more important, some inventions deliver a strong dose of creative destruction to monopolistic incumbents who did not innovate fast enough, causing those companies to fail and clearing the market of dead weight, thus opening the market to innovative new companies. Patents are the ultimate anti-monopoly in a free market. But for this to work, the market must function undisturbed by crony laws and regulations. A patent must be a presumed valid “exclusive Right.”

IP Enforcement in the Digital Age: Identifying Infringers In an Anonymous Online Environment

New technologies create novel issues and inform our understanding of existing laws. The statutes that form the basis of the U.S. IP regime are decades old and, as such, could not have contemplated how technology (and technology-assisted infringement) would evolve. As a result, traditional methods of IP enforcement often lag behind the rapidly changing online environment. Though Congress has taken steps to modernize these sometimes antiquated laws—for example, the America Invents Act made significant changes to the U.S. patent system in 2016 and the Music Modernization Act updated the music licensing and royalty framework to account for digital streaming platforms like Spotify in 2018—these updates almost always function as an ex post solution to a problem that was already present. The core questions of what is “protectable,” what is “infringement” and what is “willful” in view of the fundamental shifts in technological advancement remain squarely in the gray.

SCOTUS Reversals Have Created a Compliant Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit has been reversed so often by the Supreme Court it seems that at least some of the Judges on the Court have simply decided the take away message is the Supreme Court does not like patents. When faced with a decision about whether to find a patent valid or invalid they simply err on the side of finding the patent invalid, which seems safer and in keeping with what the Supreme Court would do… Such a level of subjectivity leads to chaos, and is driving innovation and innovators to Europe and China. Indeed, there are a growing number of software related innovations that cannot receive patents in the U.S., but which are patented in Europe and China. A decade ago we would have written the exact opposite.

Inviting Danger into the Home: Understanding the Market for Counterfeit Baby Products and How Both Parents and Brands Can Better Protect Children

How should new parents avoid putting their young children in unnecessary harm and avoid counterfeit baby products? Caregivers should purchase directly from the brand, either through its website or its authorized retailers.  Most brands – including UPPABaby and ErgoBaby – provide customers with online tools to identify authorized retailers… Second, if shopping on an online marketplace, pay close attention to the listed price.  It’s tempting to seek out a bargain while faced with the mountain of costs associated with parenthood, but prices that are significantly outside of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price should be viewed with suspicion.

Amazon.com: A Retail Giant With Major Counterfeit, Piracy and Data Privacy Issues

It’s not just counterfeits of gadgets or luxury fashion items available for sale on Amazon, lining the already deep pockets of Bezos. As we’ve noted in other reports, there are plenty of counterfeit items that mimic badges and official documents from law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Secret Service. But a recent letter sent by the Federal Communications Commission in late May of this year indicates that Amazon is also allowing the sale of set-top boxes which falsely use FCC logos in the branding, indicating that the device is permitted by FCC regulation when in fact it is not.

How to Effectively Derive Return On Investment (ROI) From US Federal Research Intellectual Capital

A massive amount of intellectual capital gets created every day from $150 billion in annual research funding allocated to federal laboratories and universities in the United States. Unfortunately, most of that intellectual capital never makes it to the market and does not generate any ROI. Essentially more than 99% of the intellectual capital created at universities and federal labs are never protected and never gets translated to intellectual property, and hence those are almost never transferred through a license to a startup or an existing company. So, what happens to the majority of the intellectual capital that is not disclosed as inventions? That typically remains locked up at the university without access from the outside world.

Are e-Commerce Sites Protecting Innovators & IP Owners?

Mark Lopreiato, the inventor of the Forearm Forklift, recorded sales of $4 million in 2008 but since then has seen a 30% drop, which he attributes to cheap replicas available on eBay and Amazon. In point of fact, there have been a number of examples of innovative companies suffering from the sale of replicas on Amazon and other e-commerce sites. In extreme cases, global brands like Birkenstock have stopped business with Amazon and other e-commerce retailers altogether. Sustained pressure on e-commerce sites from both professional and governmental bodies have yielded some results in recent years, with almost every major site now offering some level of IP protection tool or process. This also serves the interest of bigger sites as Amazon, eBay and their Chinese counterpart Alibaba are shielded from legal liability, provided they can offer a timely takedown service for IP owners.

Understanding the eBay VeRO Program

Collectors love eBay because it allows them access to items them may never otherwise be able to purchase. Bargain hunters love eBay for the ability to buy items at a much lower cost than normal retail. But, sometimes costs are lower because the goods infringe on someone’s intellectual property. Section 512(c) of the DMCA provides a safe harbor from liability for “online service providers” (OSP), like eBay, as long as the OSP: (1) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity; (2) is not directly or circumstantially aware of the presence of infringing material; and (3) promptly takes steps to remove purported infringing material upon receiving notice from copyright owners. To streamline this process, eBay created the Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program. It allows intellectual property rights owners to request that eBay remove listings that infringe on their intellectual property rights, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

Portfolio Management: A Reassessment May Be In Order

For hoarders, once an item comes into their possession, such individuals develop an unreasonable emotional attachment to it. As these possessions, many of which are viewed by others as worthless, continue to accumulate, they become both a health and safety hazard to the hoarders and those about them until some concerned party, typically a family member or a governmental authority, intervenes. Much the same problem is found in some managers of patent portfolios.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday results prove that e-commerce continues to make gains

As bleak as the picture looked for brick-and-mortar retail, it was much brighter for e-commerce and online retail, which saw their best day ever. According to global analytics firm comScore, 2015’s Cyber Monday saw $2.28 billion in online spending from desktop computer users, the heaviest day of online spending ever recorded and an increase of 12 percent over last year’s Cyber Monday results. When including sales from mobile device consumers, Cyber Monday sales surpassed $3.1 billion.

eBay seeks patents on interactive fitting rooms and other brick-and-mortar tech

The patent filing activities of eBay are fairly active, the company placing 149th overall in 2014 in terms of patents earned from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with 236 patents in that year, an increase of 15.1 percent over the previous year. So far through 2015, eBay has only earned 106 U.S. patents… In one recently published patent application, eBay is seeking a patent on an interactive fitting room experience at physical retail establishment locations. It claims a system comprising an interface module that displays a user interface, a camera configured to produce an image feed of an individual wearing the garment, a polling module that selects a target audience to poll for feedback related to the image where the target audience is selected based on the use case information and an interface module that displays a feedback interface comprising the feedback data. This system operates through an interactive mirror installed in a fitting room and presents an image for polling to social network contacts or to an anonymous audience.


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