eBay strongly supports the European Commission's continued efforts to protect Intellectual Property (IP) rights. eBay is itself owner of an important portfolio of IP rights to its well-known trademarks, such as eBay, PayPal and Marktplaats.
Any illegal activity on the internet negatively affects trust in the online market in general and between sellers and buyers in particular. eBay is committed to promoting confidence in the internet and is therefore determined to fight against any abuse of its services, including attempted sales of counterfeits. However, it should be stressed in this context that the problem of counterfeiting online is often exaggerated and suffers from a lack of objective verifiable data. Nonetheless, eBay remains dedicated to combining efforts with those of right owners to protect our customers from counterfeits.
eBay believes the current legislation on IPR enforcement as laid down in IPRED is adequate to address the problem of counterfeiting online. Therefore, we see no reason for any changes to IPRED, which already provides for injunctions against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party for any proven IPR infringement and lays down the minimum legal conditions that must be adhered to by national courts when formulating injunctive measures.
It is in the application by national courts that we see a need for guidance. We therefore urge the Commission to use this consultation as well as the E-commerce consultation to issue a joint guidance note on the circumstances where injunctions against internet intermediaries are appropriate and how the scope of such injunctions must be cabined.
However, would the Commission reopen IPRED, we urge the Commission to introduce certain clarifications to ensure its scope with regard to intermediaries is adapted to the technical, commercial and global reality.
We also urge the Commission to actively contribute to establishing a 21st Century legal tradition in the area of IPR enforcement, which ackowledges the very limited role of injunctions in contributing to the fight against counterfeiting online, the requirement of a narrow definition of such injunctions and the need to look for alternative, collaborative measures that promote economic and social development, taking into account the strengths and importance of the internet to 21st century civil society and consumers.