Brand protection—what can Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google and Twitter do to help police and protect brands and content?
Brand protection—what can Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google and Twitter do to help police and protect brands and content?

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Brand protection—what can Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google and Twitter do to help police and protect brands and content?
  • Why should intermediaries do anything to help?
  • What practical steps can platforms take?
  • How can brand owners interact with specific platforms?

Some of the world's most visited sites such as eBay, Alibaba, Facebook and Twitter have faced criticism from some brand owners for their failure to police IP infringements that take place on their sites.

The form of infringement may differ depending on the particular site. For example, sellers of counterfeit goods can use online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba. On social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, third parties can pose as famous brands and post damaging material as well as advertise fake goods. What unifies these sites is that they offer online commercial and information society services and thus fall within the remit of Directive 2000/31/EC (the E-Commerce Directive).

Counterfeiters and infringers use search engines, auction sites and social networking sites to promote and sell their products. The extent to which the owners of these sites should be liable for the infringements of the site users is an evolving area of law. Should Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that allow the unauthorised use of brands on their sites be liable for contributory infringement or does the sheer volume of traffic on these sites make it impossible for them to monitor every transaction or interaction that takes place?

The E-Commerce Directive was drafted in such a way as to allow a high level of self-regulation in terms of the procedures adopted by