eBay: Act IV in the battle of LVMH

First Instance Court just upheld last Thursday (Feb 11, 2010) in favor of LVMH, granting them damages of 200.000 €.

The circumstances of the matter are indeed quite similar with those of the earlier ruling of September 18, 2009. In the decision of September, several companies of the Louis Vuitton Group which sued eBay for trademark infringement because of the reservation on several search engines (GOOGLE, MSN and AOL SEARCH) of key words reproducing and imitating trademarks hold by these companies such as “Ange ou demon”, “Hot Couture”, “L’heure bleue”, “(parfum) Habit rouge” or “Kenzo” which drove internet users to eBay.fr and eBay.com websites. In decision of Last Thursday, LVMH also complained about reservations of keywords on various search engines.

The solution also seems to be the same between last Thursday findings and the findings of last September: use of the marks was then regarded as serving only a promotional purpose and excluded any informative approach. The judge considered that only an informative approach could have rendered necessary a reference to the marks involved.

So what’s new in comparison with these previous findings? First, no trademark of sub companies was involved. The claim was based on the reputed trademark, the company name, the board sign and even the domain name for the house mark and brand “LOUIS VUITTON” only. So everything was just around the “LOUIS VUITTON” sign but with a larger nature of earlier signs raised. Secondly, whereas the Court granted “only” a total of 60.000 € to Louis Vuitton group in September, the Judge allowed this time 200.000 € as damages.

More detailed are yet to come but this truly shows the definitive willingness of LVMH.

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