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eBay breaches ‘sweet smelling’ injunction

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Internet marketplace eBay has been fined more than one million pounds for violating an injunction brought by battling French perfume retailers.

French luxury goods group LVMH, whose brands include Christian Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton, successfully filed an injunction against eBay over the sale of its goods in June 2008. LVMH argued that eBay’s retailers were profiting from the hard-earned image of its products, as well as using keywords associated with its brands for further commercial gain.

Paris’ courts ruled last year that LVMH had a justifiable case due to the lucrative contracts it had entered with other retailers effectively being quashed by hungry eBay traders.

The injunction prohibited French consumers and sellers from purchasing or offering any LVMH products through eBay’s well-trodden marketplace. But this week, Paris’ Commercial Court fined eBay 1.7m Euros (£1.5m) for failing to uphold the injunction, in a decision described as “anti-competitive” by the site.

“We felt we did everything humanly and physically possible to comply with the injunction,” said an eBay spokeswoman. “We question the real motivation why brands are bringing these cases. We really believe it is to prevent the likes of you and I from buying our favourite goods online.”

But LVMH has welcomed the ruling, citing an “important step in the fight against unlawful practices”.

“We are obviously happy with this decision, which confirms once more the principle of selective distribution,” Pierre Gode, a LVMH Director said.

Appeal hearings in relation to LVMH’s injunction, and two related cases involving eBay, are scheduled for May next year.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

December 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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