Armed with a patent, printer manufacturing giant Epson has persuaded eBay to remove a competing class of third party ink cartridges from its popular UK marketplace.

As a trusted member of eBay’s Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) programme, Epson was taken at their word over a highly technical patent claim while the accused were denied a proper chance to defend themselves.

The takedowns set a dangerous precedent that could reach far beyond the printer market and creative community that relies on it. By obliging Epson’s request, eBay undermines the legal framework protecting the production and reselling of compatible products, threatening third party manufacturers and consumers everywhere.

Bad UK e-commerce law encourages this sort of poor behavior. eBay has openly admitted [1] it doesn’t comply with patent infringement allegations without a court order in the US. But in the UK no such order is required. Instead, Epson got to play the role of judge in its own case, even though it had everything to gain from eliminating its competitors.

This dangerous precedent must not stand. Sign the petition to challenge Epson and eBay, improve UK e-commerce law, and protect consumers and third party manufacturers.

[1] https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2017/epson-delete-ebay-listings-citing-patent-claims