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I talk a lot about copyrights and trademarks here on the Cutting for Business blog. (You can catch up with these posts at this link.) I’ve had several readers ask me the same question lately: “Why doesn’t Etsy remove listings that violate trademarks?” While I don’t work for Etsy and I’m not affiliated with Etsy in any way – I’m happy to make an educated guess as to why they don’t. First, they do remove trademark violations AFTER the trademark owner reports it to them. But, why don’t they remove them before being reported? Let’s look:
3 Reasons Why Doesn’t Etsy Remove Trademark Violations
- It’s not their job. Put simply, Etsy’s purpose is to provide a way for buyers and sellers to connect to buy handmade goods and supplies. It is the trademark holder’s responsibility to report infringements and deal with them – not just on Etsy – but everywhere online and offline.
- It would be a huge undertaking. Etsy would have to integrate their listing system with the USPTO system to search for trademark violations in the listing title and the listing description. Sellers would still be able to get around this by not using trademarked words or phrases in these places – and only in the picture. Alternatively, Etsy could hire a team to check each and every listing before it is listed for trademark violations. (Could you imagine how long this could take!?) It is natural to think that Etsy would also need to be compensated for this by trademark holders.
- Trademark holders have legal teams to do this. As I’ve mentioned, it is the responsibility of the trademark holder to enforce the protection of their intellectual property. Large companies and corporations (Disney, Universal, sports teams, etc) have legal teams that scout the world for infringements and deal with them. There is no real need for Etsy to start policing the listings.
I think readers are asking because it seems unfair that your listing may be removed for a violation; while hundreds of other similar violations remain on the site. I hope this answered your questions about Etsy and trademark infringements. Remember, trademark infringements are not only on Etsy – if you sell products with the trademark of another – you can get caught anywhere.
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