Infringing online

The Advocate General has given a wide-ranging opinion regarding the liability of marketplace websites, like eBay, for infringing goods. Operators of such marketplaces should not be liable for trade mark infringement for goods or for the use of third-party brand names in sponsored links. The opinion also deals with the question of whether the removal of the original packaging of branded products is a legitimate reason for the brand-owner to oppose their further commercialisation (concluding that this will not always be the case). If the European Court of Justice follows the opinion it will open up considerable breathing space for operators of online marketplace websites, by clarifying that they can continue to monitor and intervene in the content posted on their sites without assuming constructive knowledge and exposure to potential liability.

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