marketplace monitoring
enforcement
eBay

Is eBay checking for repeat offenders?

eBay was ordered by court to check for and delete reappearing product listings that don’t comply with legal requirements. But does the marketplace fulfill this obligation? And what can online brand protection experts do in situations like these? Find out from our article.

As we reported in early September, eBay is required to remove listings that don’t comply with existing regulations. Moreover, the marketplace has to check if the offending seller simply reposts the listing on the platform. This is a huge step forward for the protection of brands’ IP-rights and the fight against repeat offenders.

But is eBay really complying with this requirement? Let’s find out.

First, second, or third time’s the charm?

globaleyez’s online brand protection experts often encounter IP-infringing listings that simply reappear on a marketplace after we’ve requested a takedown.

That is nothing to be surprised about: most “professional” fraudsters won’t admit defeat so easily and once they’re kicked out the door, they try to crawl back through the window. By the way, this is exactly the reason why continuous marketplace monitoring is crucial for a comprehensive and effective online brand protection program.

Up until now, it was only brand protection experts who kept checking for infringing sellers re-posting their offending listings that have previously been taken down. But now, as various court cases have shown, online marketplaces have an increasing responsibility towards deleting listings that don’t comply with legal requirements, and for checking whether the seller re-posts the listing. If that happens, the marketplace is responsible for deleting it again.

Interestingly, these court cases seem to mostly focus on eBay. However, that doesn’t mean that other marketplaces don’t feature infringing and/or non-compliant listings. Unfortunately, far from it. Rather, this implies that eBay sellers are more active in taking the marketplace to court over illegal listings.

Repeat offenders - who are they?

In our experience, we have seen two main types of infringing sellers who reappear on marketplaces after a takedown.

1. Sellers who publish a new listing of the same product that has been previously taken down; and

2. Sellers who create a new listing for a different infringing product than the one previously taken down.

Strictly speaking, the court verdicts only require eBay (and eventually other marketplaces) to delete new listings of the same products that have proven to be non-compliant with regulations.

After all, a marketplace can’t be expected to know all the product ranges of all brands worldwide, and even the obligation to delete infringing listings is only valid once a third party (a different seller or online brand protection experts) notifies the marketplace of their existence.

However, we’ve seen plenty of cases where a seller simply publishes a new listing for the exact same infringing product we’ve previously had removed from the marketplace.

This is the area where the court ordered eBay to act without any further notification and delete the reappearing non-compliant listing. We’re sad to say that so far, eBay (and all other marketplaces, for that matter) could do significantly better.

Sellers we catch again, and again and… again

For example, this seller of automotive gadgets is repeatedly putting up listings that infringe on one of our clients’ IP-rights.

Screenshot of eBay.de displaying a seller’s page
Screenshot of eBay.de displaying a seller’s page

Also, this seller is not a newbie either when it comes to infringing listings.

Screenshot of eBay.de of a product listing
Screenshot of eBay.de of a product listing

These are just a few examples. Online marketplaces, unfortunately, are teeming with sellers (whether novices or veteran offenders) who infringe on brands’ copyright. And even though there’s a legal obligation now for eBay & Co. to check for repeat offenders, we don’t know what kind of resources they are using for that purpose, and how effective they are.

So what can brands do? Just take it until online marketplaces decide to honour their legal obligations?

Luckily, that’s not the case.

Online brand protection to the rescue

We at globaleyez have been taking care of issues like this for over a decade. We’ve seen it all; professional fraudster networks spanning continents, small-timer hobbyists who unknowingly misuse copyright-protected imagery, mid-level infringers who lash out at us upon being found out, and anything in between.

The versatility of the threats and infringers out there requires a flexible and creative approach. That’s why our brand protection experts always think out of the box and regard each new challenge with an open mind.

We designed our services to be perfectly scalable and adjustable to emerging new threats, and to each of our clients’ exact needs. With a comprehensive online brand protection program in place, you don’t have to worry if eBay is complying with court decisions and whether it regularly checks for the eventual reappearance of infringing listings. Instead, you can rest assured that globaleyez’s team will detect and eliminate online threats to your brand’s IP rights, whether they come from first time or repeat offenders from anywhere in the world.

Contact us and find out how we can solve your IP-protection issues.

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