Mr. Alexandre MENAIS accepted to answer to our questions considering especially the two French decisions.
What is your professional evolution?
I have a master of private law from the Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg and an Executive MBA from HEC. I passed the Lawyer certification and started in a Law firm specialised in Community law during 2 years. I was then responsible of the new technologies in a bank for 4 years. I further worked during 3 years for LOVELLS in Paris and in London at the Media and Telecom pole. In 2003, I became Headchief of legal affairs of Xerox and joined in 2007 eBay as Legal and public affairs director for France where I am today in charge of the relationship with the owners of rights
and manufacturers for eBay in Europe.
As a company, how is eBay organised and operates?
and non lawyers on any frauds relative to the activity of eBay. Our policy is not to focus on items but on sellers in order to be more efficient. eBay model has also been to generate a community where everyone gets involved by watching and reporting fraudulent activities for instance. We are also considering that manufacturers are far away in the best and most skilled position to identify whether products offered for sale are fake or not, especially considering that we never personally have in hands each and every product.
What are the means engaged by eBay against counterfeiting?
Nearly since its creation, eBay acquired technical programs to protect the rights of Intellectual Property. Of course, the system has evolved since its creation as Ebay now counts more than 276 million users.
The VeRO (Verified Rights Owners) system for example has been created in 1998 and now allows the owners of rights to inform eBay of any counterfeiting advertising and to develop personal webpages on eBay to inform eBay members with a “pop up” system linked to their marks.
In addition with our approach based on the Community warnings and specific knowledge of IP right owners, in 2006, eBay decided to communicate more on their technical and legal tools. That was the occasion for Internet users to appreciate the difficulty of such control means, but also for everyone to judge our system.
We also use advertising means to warn members. We spent millions euros in advertising on Ebay about counterfeiting. This amount could have been used for our own company advertising but we decided instead to devote it to fight counterfeiting
What is your reaction toward the two decisions against eBay (LVMH and Hermès) ?
We were chocked and immediately appealed against them. These decisions completely condemned the economic model proper to eBay. We can perfectly understand that in particular LVMH wants to protect its brands against conterfeits. But we consider that the real problem to focus on is actually not about the distribution of the (counterfeiting) goods but about their production. This is a starting point to consider and a condemnation will not solve the counterfeiting problem. Trademark owners cannot hope to stop counterfeiting by acting against intermediaries; we all have to act together on the basis of those systems.