eBay condamné à payer 1,7 million d’Euros à LVMH

Trade court of Paris – November 30, 2009

The French Trade Court of Paris upheld on November 30, 2009, a fine of 1.700.00 € against eBay: the auction site failed to take sufficient and appropriate measures so as to comply with the injunctions resulting from the decision of June 30, 2008, ruling eBay liability and granting LVMH claim.

On June 30, 2008, eBay was condemned to pay almost 40 millions of Euros to LVMH for infringing their selective distribution networks. eBay was regarded as having the obligation to ascertain that its activities did not involve illegal situations. The active interventions of eBay while helping for descriptions, presentations and positions of sellers together with selling advices for perfume products compromised the coherence of the distribution networks and were regarded as possibly lacking of respect for the products and trademarks at hands which carried some prestige.

In this June 30, 2008, decision, the Court ordered eBay to stop:

–          The broadcast of auctions for the plaintiffs perfumes or for products presented as such ;

–          The use by eBay sellers of the trademarks of the plaintiffs in particular in titles and descriptions of the products.

Each of these orders was submitted to a fine of 50.000€ per day in case eBay failed to comply with them. LVMH considered eBay had not taken sufficient measures to comply with the Court decision brought the matter before the Trade Court of Paris. The Court found that, since last ruling, 1300 auctions advertised cosmetics and perfumes in relation to the plaintiffs. eBay vainly raised its human efforts consisting in employing 87 people dedicated to the question at hands.

This new decision has been upheld under a procedural angle. But it demonstrates the extent of LVMH willingness in the battle engaged against eBay. After its victory on June 30, 2008, we previously reported that LVMH also succeeded in suing eBay for the non-authorized use of trademarks as keywords in various search engines (Paris Court of First Instance, September 18, 2009). The decision above is the third step forward in favor of LVMH.

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