LONDON — A Belgian court Tuesday found in favor of eBay in a case brought against the Internet auction site by L’Oréal-owned Lancôme over the sale of counterfeit products.
This story first appeared in the August 13, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The French beauty behemoth, which said it intends to appeal the decision, had aimed to stop eBay from allowing the sale of what it considers counterfeit goods on the Belgian version of its site. It had also requested that the site take several steps to counteract the sale of counterfeit Lancôme goods, including banning certain selling activity — such as the sale of more than three perfumes in a month by the same seller.
“We are very pleased with the Belgian court’s decision,” said an eBay spokeswoman, adding the site had taken down product listings that L’Oréal had contested. “We’re pleased that the court acknowledged the fact that eBay is willing to work together with rights holders. EBay wants to work together with brands rather than engage in litigation.”
According to the spokeswoman, the court considers eBay an online host stocking information generated by users and is not responsible for the veracity of that information.
“L’Oréal believes the court to be mistaken in its decision to minimize the role of eBay in the sale of products on its platform,” the French firm stated. “L’Oréal believes that this judgment by the court digresses from the interpretation of the e-commerce directive provided in recent months by the European Commission. Today’s interpretation also contradicts that of other European courts, in particular the commercial court of Paris in a recent case against eBay brought by other luxury brands.”
In June, a French court found eBay guilty of gross misconduct regarding the sale of counterfeit products relating to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s stable of brands. EBay was ordered to remove related auctions and pay 38.9 million euros, or $58.4 million, in compensation.
The auction site has also locked horns with Tiffany & Co. On Monday the jeweler said it’s appealing against a July federal court ruling that eBay could not be held liable for trademark infringement of Tiffany merchandise.