Trust & Safety Blog

Intellectual property rights rules on Trade Me - no fakes allowed!

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Whether it's handbags, clothing, gadgets, smartphones or tablets - we’re all about making sure Trade Me is a safe and trusted place where members can be confident in their purchases.

This means Trade Me does not allow the sale of counterfeit goods. It’s that simple.

If you have a product which isn’t the genuine article, but a copy, replica, counterfeit, fake, pirated version or knock off of the real deal, then you can’t sell it on the site. 

It doesn’t matter how honest you are when it comes to describing these non-authentic goods, the goods themselves are the issue.

Here’s our IPR Guidelines for more info on what you can and can’t list.

What does Trade Me do about IPR infringements?

We have an intellectual property rights (IPR) programme where we actively engage with the brand representatives responsible for protecting their brands intellectual property rights around the world. 

We proactively get in touch with them from time to time, and they contact us on a daily basis to report listings they believe are in breach of their rights.

When we are contacted by a rights holder we’re obliged to act, this can mean requesting more information from members to ascertain the nature of the goods, or removing listings from the site where they are an obvious breach of the rights holder’s IPR.

Here’s a case study of how we work with the Beige Brigade to help protect their very kiwi brand.

What happens if I list counterfeit gear?

We’re pretty reasonable folk here. We’ll give you fair warning before we take action on your account.

The first time you are contacted regarding an IP breach, you’ll get a first warning - that’s usually enough. If you are found to be listing goods that are infringing again we’ll take more serious action, this may mean you are permanently banned from the site.

Gross behaviour may result in immediate sanctions on your account, regardless of a warning being issued. 

What should I do about this email you sent?

Follow the instructions in the email; if we’ve asked for more information - send it through if you can. If you have questions we'll try and answer them. 

Sometimes you might list something that you don’t really know much about; it could be anything from an MP3 player to a designer handbag or watch.

If you aren’t 100% certain that it’s the real deal, don’t list it. Sellers are responsible for ensuring the goods they are listing are allowed to be sold on the site, and are fully and accurately represented so, knowingly or not, knock offs are a no goer.

If you’ve used images you found on Google, we’ll let you know and take them down as they’re probably subject to someone else’s copyright.

Ignoring a request from Trade Me staff is a sure fire way to get your account suspended or closed.

I’ve parallel imported my goods.  Is this cool?

If you’re a distribution agent looking to complain about parallel imports, your arguments will fall on deaf ears around here. Trade Me is totally cool with parallel imported goods being on the site, as long as they are genuine.

We’ve got some more views on this subject here

Where can I find out more about IPR?

Consumer NZ has a discussion of Copyright Law here
Intellectual Property Office New Zealand (IPONZ)
Rick Shera, an internet lawyer, has a great blog

I’m an IPR rights holder, how do I get in touch with Trade Me?

IP Rights holders can contact us here.

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