Intellectual property Rights

We work hard to ensure that the site is free from counterfeit goods and items that infringe other people's intellectual property rights – which includes the protection of smartphones, tablets, clothing, and handbags across hundreds of popular brands.

We take this stuff seriously as we want Trade Me to remain a trusted place for Kiwis to buy and sell everything under the sun (minus all the stuff on our banned and restricted list, of course).

Our first priority is to protect our members and the marketplace we operate, and that means we need to do our bit to help consumers not be misled or confused about what they are buying by helping sellers understand what is and isn't OK to sell.

  • Don't sell counterfeit items on Trade Me. It makes no difference if you say they are fake, replicas, or counterfeits. No exceptions allowed.
  • Rightsholders often monitor the site and may bring your listings to our attention. In reviewing these reports, considerations may include whether the item has any design elements copied from another product such as shape, colours, similar buttons and buckles, or switches and their placement.
  • Tablets and smartphones are welcome on Trade Me, as long as they aren't copies of other branded products or otherwise infringe intellectual property rights.
  • If it looks just like a genuine branded product, but isn't, don't list it. If the item could be easily confused with a branded product, don't list it.
  • Ensure that the text and pictures you use in your listings are yours to use and not simply copied from another website, or taken from another member’s listing.
  • Be sure to check that your product sources are reputable. There are many businesses and websites out there that will happily sell you items that infringe intellectual property rights. 

We want Trade Me to remain a site where our members can buy with confidence and be sure they are buying genuine items – if the deal you are about to offer is
too good to be true, it probably isn't so don't list it. 

Intellectual property and Trade Me

There are also some legal requirements under Section 92C of the Copyright Act which mean that if we “know or have reason to believe” that a listing on the site breaches copyright, we need to remove it.

I'm a rightsholder, how do I get on board the Trade Me IPR programme?

We take infringements of intellectual property rights seriously, so if you are a brand owner or intellectual property rights holder and believe products on Trade Me infringe your rights please contact us. We have an established process in place for intellectual property owners.

How many brands are part of it?

Our IPR programme is a dynamic beast and is not a new initiative – it has been in place for years. At the moment there are more than 800 brands we work with. We hear from them from time-to-time, and all of them have provided us with information about their rights. It’s important to note that the programme is not just in place for big companies – we work with rightsholders across the spectrum and they come in all shapes and sizes from knife-makers and artists, to paint companies and singers.

What sort of proof do you require?

We usually require registered proof of intellectual property rights (e.g. IPONZ registration, registered patents, etc), so some sort of vague email or phone call will not cut the mustard. Having proof means we guard against spurious claims between competitors.

How does Trade Me find out about alleged breaches?

Mainly via infringement notices provided by rightsholders. If you see something and think we should take a closer look, hit the Community Watch button at the bottom of a listing.

What does Trade Me do?

It's a bit of a balancing act to make sure our actions are fair to buyers, and fair to sellers.

When an alleged breach is brought to our attention by a rightsholder, we review it in conjunction with the information they have provided us. If we agree there’s a breach, the listings will be edited or removed and we will contact the seller to let them know why.

We also take proactive action in some cases where we believe products are likely to deceive or confuse the average buyer.

If a seller is blatantly disregarding our advice and continues to list items that are potentially in breach, they will be banned.

If we’re not presented with sufficient information, or if we believe the brand is overstepping the mark we push back and ask for more information (or decline the request). Our responsibilities under the Privacy Act mean we can release member information for the purpose of court or tribunal proceedings. We require evidence that proceedings are in play, or a court order before we pass on information about a seller, or provide their details to a rightsholder. This is because we want to ensure Trade Me is also a fair venue for sellers. 

Handy Links:


Let us know if you think the goods are counterfeit – along with how you know they're not the real deal. Check out our policy for more info.

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