Spyderco sues Ebay over inaction on counterfeiting

Spyderco sues eBay

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.

From KnifeNews:

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.


  1. Kaiser Wilhelm II says:

    I agree with you in reference to buyers needing to research before they purchase, but in some instances it isn’t as clear as a $200 knife being sold for $20. I’m glad a manufacturer is finally suing Ebay over their peddling of fakes. Ebay’s response has always been that the selling of counterfeits was not their fault, since they claim they can’t account for everyone selling on their forum. Of course, Ebay is more than happy to take their cut of the profit. Perhaps Spyderco’s lawsuit will put an end to Ebay’s “cake-and-eat-it-too” attitude.

  2. The problem of counterfeit “forgeries” is nothing new. I Have a Katana blade that is just that. It’s from the Muromachi period, Japan about 1535 AD. The blade, being highly dishonorable, has little value, but the story is priceless. Said to be made by a student of Muramasa, who attempted to duplicate the masters unique temper line style. There is a crack mid blade where apparently the mud fell off and the edge got too hard subsequently it was cut down from a No-Dachi to Katana length. Imagine the penalty for this kind of deception in feudal Japan!
    Knife buyers beware, there is a lot of cheap junk on Ebay, there’s no way Ebay could know, so it’s up to you. So, Sal, I’m sure this imitation doesn’t feel at all like flattery and I wish Spyderco success in curtailing this abuse.

  3. Perhaps legit owners of Spyderco knives can be of some assistance, take AWAY the profit motive!

    Start a “Crusade” where we actually BUY the counterfeits ourselves, one person at a time but as a GROUP it will result in large numbers (and WITH a Credit Card for best protection), have them arrive and confirm they are indeed counterfeit,…and then document their destruction with photo’s or video’s.

    Next file an A-Z claim with Ebay for Product not as described and was in fact a counterfeit. After all, Ebay takes the stance that selling counterfeit goods is against their policy. Even Amazon, if counterfeits are found in their inventory in their FBA program, state the products will be destroyed without compensation to the seller, and the seller removed from selling privileges! Even Federal and State confiscation of large counterfeit ring’s “goods” will destroy the fakes eventually, so there is a long history of what the “proper” thing to do with counterfeit goods IS!

    Paypal also should be notified that the goods you received were counterfeit,…and as even “exemplary” sellers on Ebay an elsewhere have discovered,….Paypal in virtually ALL cases will side with the BUYER! (that be YOU in this case) If for some reason they take the seller’s side, unlikely as it may be,….

    ….then you report to your Credit Card Issuer for a “Charge Back” as a fraudulent transaction. This last step takes it out of Paypal’s discretion, and your full refund will be issued if they first two steps don’t get it done!

    “Save a Spyder ,… BUY a fake and turn it to Powder!” 🙂

    Joe T

  4. Jason says:

    Good for Spyderco, you have to protect your stuff and they have families to feed and bills to pay. Spyderco has give Ebay more then ample opportunity to remove listing from what I read but Ebay does not just as long as there pockets are getting lined!

  5. borg says:

    Trafficking in counterfeit goods is a crime punishable by fines and/or imprisonment read the details at the following link.

    since trafficking in counterfeit goods is a crime, Ebay is acting as an accomplice in the act of trafficking in counterfeit goods by failing to act on the information provided by Spyderco. Ebay is lucky that they are not being prosecuted since executives could potentially face prison time.

  6. borg says:

    Since Ebay collects a cut of the money for the sales of these counterfeits Ebay could potentially face charges for trafficking counterfeit goods but also possible racketeering charges

  7. borg says:

    This is one more good reason to not buy from Ebay since these counterfeiters could raise the prices of the knives making it impossible to determine which is genuine and which is fake until purchased. Ebay’s action makes me glad that I did not buy anything from them in over a decade except for a solitaire game of which I had to return for a refund due to arriving DOA.

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Spyderco sues Ebay over inaction on counterfeiting

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