Tiffany and eBay in Fight Over Fakes.Is eBay closing?

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For years, eBay has defined itself simply as an online marketplace that links buyers and sellers.

But in a weeklong bench trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan that ended last Tuesday, lawyers for Tiffany & Company argued that the online auction house was far more than that: it is a distribution network that enables the trading of counterfeit Tiffany items.

If Tiffany wins its case, not only could other lawsuits follow, but eBay’s business model could be threatened because it would be difficult and extremely expensive for the company, based in San Jose, Calif., to police a site that now has 248 million registered users worldwide and approximately 102 million items for sale at any one time.

Tiffany has requested injunctive relief that would require eBay to alter its procedures to eliminate counterfeit silver Tiffany merchandise from its auctions. Judge Richard Sullivan instructed both sides to file post-trial briefs by Dec. 7.

“I will hopefully turn this around quite quickly after that,” he told the lawyers.

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eBay’s Desktop App, San Dimas, Enters Public Beta

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EBay Inc. will significantly widen the beta test for San Dimas, its PC application designed to let buyers interact both offline and online with the company’s marketplace.

Until now San Dimas has been available to testers selected by eBay, but it can now be downloaded by eBay buyers for use with the U.S. marketplace.

The application, which has been rebaptized eBay Desktop and was built on Adobe Systems Inc.’s AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) platform, will be shown this week at Adobe’s Max 2007 show in Chicago.

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