26.10.2023 | by Lili and Felix
IP infringing web content, including product listings, ads, posts and pictures can be removed from the internet because they - as you may have guessed - infringe on somebody else’s IP rights.
But besides IP laws, there are many other regulations to comply with, and a failure to do so can serve as a ground for various warnings and punishments, including takedowns.
eBay is a platform where both private individuals and professional sellers can create product listings. Obviously, the latter category has to comply with a whole different set of regulations, which creates a lot of work for sellers.
Recently, eBay has noticed that a seller registered as a private individual regularly sells new products in large quantities. A deeper investigation revealed that the seller in question is indeed a business, resulting in a large fine for pretending to be a private vendor.
In another case, eBay fined a seller who failed to include the necessary energy labels on their product listings. And at a third instance, a vendor selling postmarks didn’t check for their authenticity and failed to feature this information prominently on the product listing, earning them a warning and a fine.
Image of energy efficiency product labels
As online brand protection experts, we are usually on the hunt for IP infringements, like trademarks, copyrights, patents and design. However, these other regulations can come in very handy for short term relief when investigating a stubborn case of IP infringement.
Proving that a seller infringes on your IP rights may not always be straightforward, especially if they don’t use pictures in their listing. Similarly, due to the nature of the product, other infringements may need lengthy further investigations, ie.g. if they’re using a patent without your consent.
However, a seller that disregards your IP rights may have a similar attitude towards any other regulations, some of which may be much easier to prove and act on.
Regulations obviously depend on location and industry. Certain countries may pose stricter regulations on cosmetic products than others, for instance. However, every product appearing in a market has to adhere to all applicable regulations.
For example, all commercial websites in Germany need to have an Imprint displaying relevant contact information of the person/entity responsible for the website. Similarly, EU GDPR regulations apply to all organisations operating a website or simply collecting data from people within the territory of the EU.
Illustration of GDPR regulations
Also, environmental laws pose several obligations on commercial entities in virtually any industry, and consumer protection regulations are also in place in many parts of the world.
These regulations, indispensable in their own fields, are also helpful when it comes to identifying and stopping fraudsters who infringe on your IP rights.
In cases when proving an IP infringement may take longer, it’s advisable to look at other regulations fraudsters may be disregarding. Finding an environmental law violation, for example, may take the product listing out of circulation while we build our IP infringement case. After all, a takedown is a takedown, whatever reasons it occurs for.
The natural culmination point of all brand protection work is a takedown, when we enforce your rights and ensure the removal of the infringing content from the internet. This can be a domain, a picture, a product listing, or any other content that features your IP protected assets without your consent.
While most of our other services are aided by software, takedowns usually require a lot of manual work. We need to fill out forms to alert the marketplace, domain registry, social media platform, etc. to the fact that some of their content infringes on your rights. In addition, some types of infringements may require further investigation, like a test purchase, before a takedown can occur.
Thanks to our excellent cooperation with key industry partners (e.g. marketplaces, domain registries and registrars, etc), our takedown processes are as fast and efficient as possible. For example, our takedown rates on domain registries are between 91-93%. On Google Shopping, we have a success rate of 93%, while close to 100% of our takedown requests on over 150 marketplaces worldwide go through as planned.
Since fraudsters are rarely deterred by one takedown, we offer a sustainable enforcement service where we regularly check back to see whether the infringing content has popped up again. If it did, we’ll enforce your rights again and ensure its renewed removal.
Fraudsters tend to cause significant amounts of loss for brands whose IP rights they infringe upon. Taking the culprits to court is a great way to win back that loss. If you decide to go down that route, we can support your case by providing you with court-admissible evidence, including timestamped screenshots taken by our own tool, screenseal.
Contact us if you want to learn more about our enforcement service, or if you’re worried about the protection of your IP rights in any way.