France court orders eBay to pay $63 million for permitting sale of fake goods

France court orders eBay to pay $63 million for permitting sale of fake goods

[JURIST] A French court Monday ordered Internet auction house eBay [corporate website] to pay $63 million in damages to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) [corporate website], finding that the website failed to prevent the sale of counterfeit luxury goods that infringed on registered designs. LVMH praised the holding as a victory for designers seeking to control the distribution of their merchandise or prevent the sale of "copycat" products. In June, another French court ruled against eBay in a similar lawsuit for failing to prevent the sale of fake Hermès International SCA [corporate website] products. EBay said that it would appeal Monday's decision [press release]. The New York Times has more. Bloomberg has additional coverage.

The ruling comes as part of a growing trend, as European nations tighten restrictions on imitation luxury goods. A German court [Bavarian justice system website, in German] last week ruled [JURIST report] that a sports utility vehicle manufactured in China bore an unacceptable resemblance to a model manufactured by German automaker BMW [corporate website], ordering the SUV's importers to stop sales of the infringing SUV, destroy all remaining cars, and pay compensatory damages to BMW. Last year, DaimlerChrysler threatened to sue Shuanghuan Automobile [Forbes report] over a car it alleged infringed on its designs. The US and the European Commission (EC) announced [US Trade Representative press release; EC press release] plans in 2007 to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [JURIST report] to promote international enforcement of copyright law [JURIST news archive]. The Agreement is on the agenda for the G-8 summit taking place this month.