EBay fined over LVMH injunction

French courts have fined eBay €1.7m (£1.55m) for not adhering to an injunction that banned the sale of perfumes and cosmetics owned by French luxury goods group Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH).

Louis Vuitton perfume

Ebay says French court ruling in favour of LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior and Givenchy, is anti-competitive and bad for consumers.

The court injunction, issued in June 2008, prevents French eBay users buying or selling LVMH perfumes or cosmetics on eBay.

Alex von Schirmeister, general manager of eBay in France says:
“Today’s outcome hurts consumers by preventing them from buying and selling authentic items online. The injunction is an abuse of ‘Selective distribution’. It effectively enforces restrictive distribution contracts, which is anti-competitive.”

“The fine itself is disproportionate given that eBay complied with the injunction. It is out of step with our legal victories in France, UK Germany, Belgium and the US.”

The company says it has introduced software which makes listings for authentic LVMH items invisible to French users.

EBay will appeal the ruling at a hearing in May 2010. Von Schirmeister added that he believes the ruling will be overturned by the high courts.

Last year, eBay was ordered to pay the French luxury goods company €40m (£32m) for failing to stop the sale of counterfeit goods and allowing the sale of genuine products outside their proper retail channels.

Louis Vuitton had no comment about today’s ruling.

L’oreal has also been involved in a legal battle with the auction site over counterferit goods. In May the company won a landmark case which ruled that companies using lookaline packaging were gaining “unfair advantage” and are breaking the law.

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