PARIS — A French court Friday ordered eBay, the online auction giant, to pay damages to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA for allowing the sale on its site of counterfeits of the French luxury goods company’s fragrances.
EBay has been ordered to pay 80,000 euros, or $117,820 at current exchange rates, for allowing a key word search for Christian Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy and Guerlain perfumes on its site without authorization.
The ruling marks LVMH’s second court victory against eBay. In June, the auction site was ordered to pay 38 million euros, or $55.7 million, for allowing the sale of fake LVMH merchandise.
EBay this week petitioned the European Union to stop luxury goods companies from blocking online sales of their products, as regulators prepare to adjust antitrust rules on distribution deals to take into account the stronger power of large retailers and the growing popularity of e-commerce.
EBay lawyers have become regular courtside fixtures on both sides of the Atlantic as the Internet auction site has locked horns not only with LVMH, but also L’Oréal and Tiffany & Co.
The Internet company has had mixed results to date. In June 2008, the Web site was ordered to pay Hermès a fine of 20,000 euros, or $31,058, for failing to monitor the authenticity of goods sold on its site.
However, in July, in a case that pitted eBay against Tiffany, a U.S. court ruled eBay does not have the legal responsibility to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. The jewelry retailer’s lawyers have since presented written arguments to an appeals court asking for a reversal of the ruling. And in May, the Paris High Court ruled eBay is not accountable for the sale of counterfeit L’Oréal beauty products on its French Web site in a case brought against the online auctioneer by the beauty giant.
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