eBay Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program

This week, I had a clear out of some of my audio equipment and listed an Eagle G148 microphone for sale on eBay.

eBay listing
eBay listing

Within hours, the listing had been taken down by eBay and I was sent this message:

Takedown notice
Takedown notice
Your listing has been removed: Trademark Violation – Unauthorized Item

Hello dj_judas21,After reviewing your eBay account, we’ve taken the following action:
– Violating listings have been removed. A list of items that were removed can be viewed at the bottom of this message.
– We have credited all associated fees except for the final value fee for your listing(s).

Your listing was removed after the rights owner notified us that your item infringes on their trademark rights. We urge you to contact the rights owner directly for more information about why they requested the removal of your listing and whether you may relist the item.

For more information on our VeRO program, go to:
http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/trademark.html

If you have more questions, contact our policy experts:
http://ocsnext.ebay.co.uk/ocs/cusr?query=1337&=PTB1205

Please be sure your current and future listings follow these guidelines, keeping in mind that additional violations could result in the suspension of your account.

The rights owner or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the rights owner, Shure, Inc., notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.

We encourage you to contact Shure, Inc. directly if you have any questions.

You can send an email to:
haas_joan@shure.com

For more information on how eBay protects Intellectual Property, or for additional information if you believe that your listing has been removed as a result of an error or misidentification, please visit the following Help page:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/programs-vero-ov.html

Here are the listings that were removed:
272508655545 – Eagle G148 Retro Vintage Super Cardioid Dynamic Microphone “Elvis Style”

We appreciate your cooperation.Thanks,
eBay

Please don’t reply to this message. It was sent from an address that doesn’t accept incoming email.

What things annoyed me most about this is that eBay have acted upon an allegation without properly investigating it and without giving me the right to defend myself. I happen to believe the allegation was made in error as the listing itself is an honest description of an Eagle G148 microphone. No mention of Shure anywhere.

I am also annoyed that eBay don’t care about helping me. I read the links in the email but they just contain bland information about their policies and another note that in case of query, eBay sellers should contact the person who made the complaint. They don’t take responsibility for their “investigation”. Here’s an excerpt from one of eBay’s help pages:

If your listing was reported by a VeRO participant, and you believe that your listing was removed in error, try to contact the rights owner directly. The email we sent you about the removal will include their contact information. If the rights owner agrees that they made a mistake, have them email eBay and we’ll allow you to relist your item.

I am pessimistic that emailing Shure will have any effect, or that I will even get a reply. A private individual emailing some random mailbox in a large corporation, asking them to admit a mistake and email another large corporation? Yeah, right. I decided to humour them, though, and here’s what I sent to Joan Haas at Shure.

To whom it may concern,

I received an email from eBay stating that one of my listings was taken down at the request of Shure Inc on the grounds of an alleged trademark violation / unauthorized item.

The item in question was 272508655545 – Eagle G148 Retro Vintage Super Cardioid Dynamic Microphone “Elvis Style”

I feel that Shure Inc has made an error in this matter, since the product in question is not a Shure product, nor a replica/counterfeit Shure product, nor was it advertised as such. I am therefore confused, and would be grateful if you could explain the reasoning behind the complaint.

I have contacted eBay to dispute the takedown and before they take action they have requested that I contact Shure.

“If your listing was reported by a VeRO participant, and you believe that your listing was removed in error, try to contact the rights owner directly. The email we sent you about the removal will include their contact information. If the rights owner agrees that they made a mistake, have them email eBay and we’ll allow you to relist your item.”

So I would be grateful if you could contact eBay to state that an error was made in this matter. If you are unable to do this, please explain to me why it is that you are unable.

I will be contacting eBay directly to follow up on the matter.

Regards,
Jonathan

To my surprise, I received a reply after just a day or two:

Sir:

Your sale on eBay was shut down because the microphone you offered infringes Shure’s registered trademarks in the European Community (CTM) and US covering the microphone design. Certificates for CTM registration 4348348 and US registration 2,163,185 are attached for your reference.

Joan Haas
Legal Assistant

So it seems that Shure have requested that eBay remove my listing because they believe the Eagle G148 microphone infringes one of their trademarks – not that I as an individual have been accused of any wrongdoing. I’m pleased and surprised I actually got a helpful and specific response from them.

I’m not an intellectual property lawyer but the trademark registration seems awfully vague and would describe most microphones made in the 1950s. The trademark only describes the physical appearance of the microphone. I’m certainly not going to hire a lawyer to debate the finer points, and I am prepared to accept that Shure are unwilling to allow infringing products to be sold.

I’m still cross at eBay though, being heavy-handed and unhelpful while handling the case. They sent me a follow-up customer service survey to ask me to rate the interaction. I told them what I thought about the inadequacies of their process.

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