The Bonanzle Approach to Dealing with Trademark Infringement

Posted on June 7, 2010. Filed under: Other | Tags: , , , , |

For more than a few years now, eBay and manufacturers have battled over trademark infringement issues and a number of news sources, including AuctionBytes, have reported the outcomes of court cases as they have occurred. 

Even Amazon is not immune to trademark infringement lawsuits  but Amazon does not have the wide range of problems as eBay does because Amazon more closely monitors their sellers and places more limits on who and what is allowed for sale on their platform.

Bonanzle, a relative newbie e-commerce platform when compared to eBay and Amazon, makes sure to include information in their list of  Prohibited Items stating that fakes are not allowed for sale on the Bonanzle site.  And it is interesting that some manufacturers, such as Burberry, are registered Bonanzle users and are on the Bonanzle platform to defend their trademarks.  So, then, how does Bonanzle deal with the issue of suspected trademark infringement?  A close friend of mine forwarded me an email she recently received from Bonanzle about some of the items she offered for sale on Bonanzle.  The actual term she was using is a common word and even appears on her manufacturer invoices so she was shocked to learn that the term is a trademarked word.  She wasn’t purposely misusing the trademarked term; it’s obvious that this word has been used in everyday language for so long as a generic term that no one realizes it is trademarked.

I have copied a portion of that email and included it below but have taken out the manufacturer’s name and the actual trademark term.  In their place I have used “manufacturer” and “trademark” where the original names were included.

“I’m sorry to inform you that we had to place some of your items on RESERVED status due to a recent communication from MANUFACTURER (see below). We wanted you to be aware that these items have not been deleted from your booth but were put on a temporary hold, and they can be accessed through your Batch Editor.

MANUFACTURER is claiming infringement on their trademarks for any items using the term TRADEMARK on articles that are not associated with the MANUFACTURER brand. The use of the term TRADEMARK or a similar phrase, needs to be removed from these items before they can be re-listed. With the large number of items that were being sold on Bonanzle, it was impossible to identify individual items in your booth that may NOT infringe (e.g., actual MANUFACTURER items). Therefore, it became necessary for us to remove ALL items that used “TRADEMARK” in the title or description of the item. We apologize if you had actual MANUFACTURER items (that would not be in violation) that were removed. Those items can be re-listed without any necessary changes. These items can be accessed with the Batch Editor and the status of those items can be changed back to FOR SALE. You would use the FILTER option to search for items where “Status is RESERVED” and then change the status to FOR SALE under the “ Apply to Selected Items” section.

However, if your items are NOT MANUFACTURER, please edit them to remove any reference to the term “TRADEMARK.” Possibly changing it to [alternative term provided by Bonanzle] would suffice. You can use the batch editor to replace text in the description section of your listing. Here’s a link that explains how to use the text replacement feature “

What is interesting is that searching by this same trademarked term on eBay, the search yields almost 60,000 different items for sale.  And the manufacturer has not enforced their VERO rights on eBay (the same seller lists items on eBay and has not received a VERO violation notice)  perhaps because it would require them to individually report each and every listing which infringes on the trademark.  On Bonanzle, however, a general “sweep” is done so that all items are removed at one time and then it is incumbent on the sellers to relist their items even if their original listings did NOT infringe upon the trademark.  Perhaps because eBay charges an insertion fee for every listing they are not as willing to consider this way of dealing with potential problems.  In addition, eBay “punishes” sellers whom they are told are in violation based on just the word of the Verified Rights Owner whereas Bonanzle does not approach the Trademark Infringement issue as one where sellers should automatically be punished.  It appears that Bonanzle is more concerned about sellers correcting the problem and removing the “offending” term rather than focusing on punishing sellers who may not have even realized that they were infringing upon a trademark.

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7 Responses to “The Bonanzle Approach to Dealing with Trademark Infringement”

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hillary DePiano and TheBrewsNews, Christopher Lesley. Christopher Lesley said: RT @TheBrewsNews: The Bonanzle Approach to Dealing with Trademark Infringement http://tinyurl.com/2ch3ssa […]

This is typical of the whole Bonanzle approach to business. Friendly, informational, non-confrontational, co-operative, helpful, as in giving a link to the batch editor.

Bonanzle really does get it, we are all, sellers, buyers and management on the site for the same reason, to buy and sell.

This does not mean they are wussy or ineffectual, they weed out the dubious quite rapidly, and have been known to impose time outs on both parties in forum spats.

This is news? I got the same email…so I changed my listings in a snap with the handy dandy batch editor.

So the company (a very large well known company) didn’t want us using their tm term, and they haven’t busted everyone on the net yet…so what?

Maybe they’re just beginning.

Even violations on eBay are sporadic. They can’t bust everyone all the time…but they get some, some of the time.

That’s life. This isn’t news.

Oh, sorry…I just saw at the very end that the gist of your article is how cool Bonanzle is for not punishing sellers, but helping them comply with laws in a friendly manner….ok, cool

Woulda been nice if the writer had highlighted that point towards the beginning of this article…may I kindly suggest a writing class refresher course?

I know I’m busy and attention span is shorter than a dragonfly caught up in a wind…so skimming and speed reading are the norm. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The title of the article says exactly what the article is about…..huh..

So, your first comment was an immediate, knee-jerk reaction without having read the entire article.

Then, when you realized YOUR mistake, instead of apologizing, you turned YOUR error into an insult by telling him to take a refresher course in writing. Despite the fact that the title of the article says it all.

What, do you have your Bitch Dial set to automatic or something? Jeez.

Here is a similar story

The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for a permanent injunction in part because plaintiffs failed to establish irreparable harm. Since defendant’s infringement was from manufacturing — not sales — in the U.S. and defendant could quickly relocate to Mexico, plaintiffs failed to show that continued manufacturing infringement in the U.S. would cause irreparable harm. “[Plaintiffs] must establish that [defendant’s] manufacturing operations in the United States are continuing and will continue to cause irreparable harm if not enjoined. [Plaintiffs], however, [do] not appear to dispute that [defendant] would be able to move its remaining manufacturing operations to Mexico almost immediately if the court enjoined it from continuing to manufacture its products in the United States.”


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