L'Oreal Fails in Bid to Sue eBay over Selling Fakes

Judges found that e-Bay was only helping people to sell goods and could not control the content of its advertisements.

A Paris court dismissed on May 13 an attempt by cosmetics giant L'Oreal to sue eBay for 3.5 million euros ($US4.8 million) for selling counterfeit goods.

The French ruling follows one by a Belgian commercial court, which found in August that the world's largest online auctioneer did not have "a general monitoring obligation" of what was on offer on its site.

L'Oreal has brought cases against eBay in five European countries, accusing the firm of not doing enough to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods posted on its auction and sale sites.

The Paris court said eBay had "fulfilled his duty" and said "preventing the sale of counterfeit goods on the eBay platform encounters major difficulties when it comes to perfumes and cosmetics".

Judges found that e-Bay was only helping people to sell goods and could not control the content of its advertisements, and should therefore be considered as a web host rather than a web editor.

It called for close cooperation between L'Oreal and eBay to clamp down on forgery, suggesting that a mediator be employed. The companies will discuss that during a new hearing on May 25.

Last June, a Paris commercial court ordered eBay to pay nearly 40 million euros in damages to Louis Vuitton for selling fake luxury goods, in a ruling cheered as a victory for copyright protection.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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