LVMH and eBay settle dispute

French cosmetics giant and online retailer end long-running dispute over fragrance counterfeiting

French cosmetics giant Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) and online retailer eBay have ended their long-running dispute over fragrance counterfeiting.

“EBay and LVMH today announced a cooperative effort to protect intellectual property rights and combat counterfeits in online commerce,” said a statement issued by eBay and posted on its website. The statement also quoted Michael Jacobson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at eBay, and Pierre Godé, Vice President at LVMH, as saying: “Thanks to our joint efforts, consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment globally.”

The dispute between eBay and LMVH dates back to 2008 when eBay was censured by a leading Paris court for selling counterfeit goods and barred altogether from selling four brands – Christian Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo and Guerlain. It was also ordered to pay €3.25m to the brands for damage to their selective distribution network.

EBay appealed the ruling but lost and was ordered to pay €50,000 per day if it continued the online sale of the four brands. In December 2009, the firm was fined yet again, over the same four brands, this time to the tune of u1.7m, at which time the Paris court also accused the American firm of not respecting its judgment.

During these years, eBay was simultaneously embroiled, though more successfully, in a similar battle with L’Oréal, and had also been threatened with legal action by PPR (now Kering), owner of brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga. It made a similar agreement with L’Oréal in January this year.

Patricia Mansfield-Devine, Rennes

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