The eBay platform should provide a safe place for sellers and customers. As a marketplace, eBay is not in possession of the goods sold on its platform. Sellers are responsible for ensuring that the items they list on eBay are genuine and that the description in the listing doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. eBay, on its part, has a limited obligation to prevent the sale of fakes. So if you found someone selling counterfeits of your products on eBay or otherwise infringing on your intellectual property rights, you can report them to eBay and eBay will take them down.
What listings can I report?
Products or listings that infringe on intellectual property rights are illegal and not allowed on eBay.
You can report a product or listing to eBay if you believe it violates your intellectual property rights. You can also report any counterfeit items or replicas, as well as the unauthorized use of copyrighted content on eBay.
Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark on or in connection with goods and or services. Counterfeiting is the manufacturing, distribution or sale of goods under someone else’s name, and without their permission. Therefore, counterfeits are products made to look identical to other products without the permission of the intellectual property rights owner, making them illegal.
Replicas may infringe on trademark by imitating a trademarked item illegally by copying a design or function illegally.
A violation of copyrighted content happens when a product or listing uses your content, such as your image, video, or text, without permission. Copyright is created automatically the minute the original work is created, so if someone uses your copyrighted content you can report it to eBay and have it removed from the listing. In the U.S. you can also report copyright violation via a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notification and send it to the eBay designated agent by following this link. Be sure you provide all the required information.
What listings I cannot report?
Listings should not be reported for enforcement of agreements, such as in cases of distribution agreements, selling below the minimum advertised pricing (MAP), or other contractual issues. eBay also doesn’t allow reporting of listings due to regulatory compliance issues.
How to report a listing on eBay?
If an item or listing infringes on your intellectual property rights, you can report the listing by submitting a Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI), or the specific link if your country has one. The Notice should be submitted to eBay.
To submit the NOCI you need to have the following information:
- Your ID and information
- Evidence of the infringement, usually in the form of a link to the infringing listing, together with a description of the item, seller details, etc.
- Intellectual property (IP) information, including details such as trademark registration number and the territories of IP registration.
What is the VeRO program?
The Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program allows intellectual property rights owners and agents acting on their behalf to report eBay listings that they believe infringe on their rights. VeRO allows for faster removal of counterfeits and other IP infringing content. The program is intended to protect eBay customers who purchase through the site, as well as to better address IP complaints.
VeRO starts with an IP violation. To join VeRO, you should complete a valid Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI).
Once you are on the program, you can create a profile page that will be helpful in identifying your IP rights and sharing them.
- A list of all the products covered by your IP, such as your trademarks.
- The consequences of infringing on your IP rights, such as by selling counterfeits of your protected products.
- How to contact you regarding to your IP.
eBay does not police listings, nor does it police VeRO profiles. As a result, any IP questions should be addressed to the rights owner using their contact details. The same goes for re-listing the reported items, which is up to the intellectual property rights owner rather than eBay. The IP owner has the choice to withdraw the case and re-list you. This can happen, for example, if he made a mistake on his part or if you resolved the issue with him.
What if your listing is removed based on VeRO?
Before eBay removes your listing based on a VeRO report, it sends a removal notification email containing information. This includes the reason for removal and the direct contact details of the intellectual property rights owner.
In some situations, you may contact eBay:
- If you don’t have the rights owner’s email address in the email.
- If the rights owner hasn’t replied to your email after 5 business days.
Check the situation carefully and if you believe your product or listing should not have been removed, it may be a good idea to contact a trademark attorney so he or she can advise you on how to respond to the claim. Although it is clear that counterfeits should be removed, there are reasons for removal that are not as clear. For example, “likelihood of confusion” means that the product you are selling is not a counterfeit, but the company owning the IP feels that it’s too similar to their mark.
Finally, know that there are consequences. If you have intellectual property issues and strikes, eBay may put selling restrictions on your account or suspend it completely.
The Wiser conclusion
Products or listings that infringe on intellectual property rights are illegal and not allowed on eBay. On top of being illegal, they hurt customers’ trust in eBay, as well as in your brand. Therefore, when sellers offer counterfeits, brands lose more than sales and revenue, they may lose the trust of customers and their reputation.
Wiser Market brand protection agency can help you protect your brand on eBay and, more generally, online. We scan eBay, Amazon and all major marketplaces, websites, and social media 24/7 to alert you of trademark violations and other intellectual property rights infringements. When we detect a threat, we analyze it and move on to filing a complaint and following through with takedown actions.
Our effective, long-term online brand protection strategy defends your brand’s revenue and reputation, resulting in an over 90% success rate.
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