Thu, May. 01, 2008

Internet Auction and Trademark

CK - Washington.   After a recent change in the law on online provider liability, the German Supreme Court confirmed its prior view on the liability shield for internet service providers in cases of trademark violations committed by their customers.

On April 30, 2008, the court found in the matter I ZR 73/05 - Internet-Versteigerung III an auction platform liable for failing to suppress customer postings of fake items bearing trademarks. The court noted that the liability of providers is limited in the case of criminal violations and civil damages. The limitation of liability in the new statute, Telemediengesetz, does not extend, however, to claims for the removal or suppression of material that violates trademarks.

The facts at issue involve an offer at auction for watches with a statement identifying the watches as unauthorized replicas. After receiving notice from the trademark owner, the online auctioneer is required to remove the posting, the court held. In addition, it required online providers to take preventive action when they know that future postings of a similar nature are likely.

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