EBay is being hit with a lawsuit in a Paris court by designer-good company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which alleges that eBay doesn’t do enough to restrict the sale of counterfeit goods on the site.
LVMH’s Louis Vuitton is claiming €20million while Dior Couture wants a further €17million in damages for fakes sold between 2001 and 2005. The company’s research apparently discovered that 90 percent of items sold under its labels on the site are fake.
This type of suit is not totally foreign to eBay as it was slapped with a similar charge in 2004 by jewelers Tiffany’s. That suit has not yet been resolved.
The argument centres around who is ultimately responsible for the fakes that are listed on eBay: is it eBay’s job to police the site and make sure counterfeit goods aren’t traded, or is it in the hands of the manufacturers to chase down the perpetrators who are taking their names in vain?
EBay subscribes to the latter position. Hani Durzi, a spokesperson for the company, said, “We believe this is nothing more than an attempt by these companies to shirt their own responsibilities to police their own brands. What we do is already above and beyond what we’re required to by law”.
However, eBay’s French subsidiary, muddied the waters by says, “All sales of counterfeit products on eBay are totally illegal”. However, trademark owners are responsible for reporting the fakes to eBay.
The chips are mounting against eBay, though, as French industry body Unifab is also reportedly planning to file a claim against the company saying that it doesn’t do enough to ensure fakes aren’t traded on the site.