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November 30, 2009

Paris court fines eBay €1.7m over LVMH sales

Injunction is an abuse of selective distribution, says eBay

By CBR Staff Writer

eBay has been fined €1.7m by Paris Commercial Court, which ruled that the online auction site has violated the injunction issued in June 2008, which prevents French users from buying or selling LVMH perfume products on any eBay site.

In June 2008, the Paris Commercial Court found eBay guilty for neglecting its obligation to respect selective distribution networks and ordered it to discontinue the illegal practices in addition to payment of damages.

The court stated that unlawful adverts using the brand names Christian Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy or Guerlain have continued to be posted on the eBay site.

Ebay said that it used state of the art filtering software to check millions of daily listings, with thousands of listings of authentic items being rendered invisible and inaccessible to French eBay users.

Alex von Schirmeister, general manager of eBay in France, said that the 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. We believe that the higher courts will overturn this ruling and ensure that eCommerce companies such as eBay will continue to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to trade authentic goods.

Given that eBay complied with the injunction, the fine is disproportionate and out of step with our legal victories in France, UK, Germany, Belgium and the US, Mr Schirmeister said.

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