Knifenews broke the story today – apparently Spyderco is suing Ebay for failing to take action to curtail the sale of counterfeit knives on the site.
According to the complaint, filed in the US District Court of Colorado last week, Spyderco has tried to help eBay address the problem of counterfeit knives on the website since early 2009. “Spyderco has sent eBay more than 500 Notices of Claimed Infringement (“NOCI”) by at least 300 individual www.ebay.com registered sellers identifying thousands of Fake Spyderco Products.”
Spyderco contends that eBay isn’t taking “the reasonable means” to halt services to sellers of counterfeit Spyderco knives. “eBay continues to allow www.ebay.com to be used by thousands of Unauthorized Sellers to advertise Fake Products that display unauthorized Spyderco trademarks that infringe on Spyderco’s Marks.”
The lawsuit alleges that eBay knowingly ignored the complaints of intellectual property infringement. “eBay cannot continue to enjoy the enormous profits derived from the proliferation of Fake Products sold on the eBay website if the unauthorized sellers are excluded from selling their counterfeit goods.” Spyderco says the ongoing presence of counterfeit Spyderco products in eBay listings causes confusion for consumers and damages Spyderco’s reputation.
Alex, Knifenews’ publisher deserves a gold star for this one. I was traveling today, and have not been able to find much more about the case since sitting down this evening. Alex has the inside scoop. Even the Official Spyderco forums (their own as well as on BladeForums) don’t have much more than users leaving comments along the lines of “good for them” and “about time”. If there has been an official statement or press release from Spyderco, I have not been able to locate it.
I suppose I should be more fired up about the issue, but “Caveat Emptor” (buyer beware) has been advice to live by since the dawn of free exchange. I have a hard time conjuring up much sympathy for someone who was either too ignorant or willfully blind as to think that their $20 Ebay Paramilitary doesn’t smell like last week’s diapers.
That said, I obviously support Intellectual Property laws. Spyderco certainly is among the most pirated of knife companies if not the most so. If Ebay has been unresponsive to hundreds of NOCI notificaions then Spyderco has a legitimate claim to damages. I wish them success in their endeavor, which is not something I often say about pending litigation – in fact, my supporting a plaintiff is probably indicative of the overall strength of Spyderco’s complaint.