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Monday, 30 June 2008 20:24

French fakes land eBay with AUD $65.8 million fine

eBay has been warned about counterfeit goods being sold online before. Now a French court has given them 65 million reasons to get their act together.

You are more likely to see Christian Dior Couture, Dior, Givenchy, Guerlian, Kenzo and Louis Vuitton together on a catwalk or in a designer shop than in an IT news story. However, the group of six brands which belong to the LVMH Group (it stands for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy in case you wondered) have won their place here. Literally.

A French court has found in favour of LVMH which had accused eBay France of not doing enough to prevent the sale of counterfeit luxury goods which damaged brands belonging to the group.
The 40 million Euros compensation (AUD $65.8 million) has been awarded to LVMH and its sister companies, which has also alleged that auctions for legitimate perfumes from their brands are illegal as they can only be legally sold through licensed specialist dealers.

The French commercial court seems to agree, and has banned eBay from selling the four perfumes in question from now on. 

Vanessa Canzini, representing eBay, says that the ruling has nothing to do with the fight against counterfeit goods. Indeed, she insists that eBay removes such items swiftly once discovered. However, Canzini argues that is has everything to do with protectionism and has promised to appeal the courts decision.

"Today’s ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers everyday" Canzini said.

Meanwhile, LVMH spokesman Pierre Gode unsurprisingly dismisses this and claims it was just protecting brands that are considered to be an important part of French heritage.

Find out who else eBay has had to pay over French fakes on the next page...


The case originally started out as three distinct ones, concerning the sale of counterfeit handbags, lipstick, perfume and clothing. However, because of the similarities it was determined by the French judiciary that the case should be merged into one.

It is not the first time that eBay has found itself on the wrong end of a French lawsuit. indeed, earlier this month it was ordered to pay 20,000 Euros AUD $32,500 in damages to another French luxury brand. Hermes had accused the auction site of selling counterfeit Hermes bags. In that case, the court imposed the same fine on the woman who had been selling the bags in question.

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