A Paris court ruled Thursday that eBay harmed the image of the venerable French fashion house Louis Vuitton by paying to have misspelled search queries direct to its site.
LV was awarded €200,000 ($275,000) in damages and ordered to stop paying search engines to lead “Louis Viton” and “Wuiton” searchers to eBay, The Wall Street Journal reported. The ruling only applies in France.
Part of the luxury behemoth LVMH, the company argued that the misspelled terms are commonly used to advertise fake merchandise and that shilling these products on eBay damages their image.
EBay counters that the excessive fine shows that LVMH is out to damage eBay’s reputation.
This is not the first of such cases to hit the docket. LVMH won $63 million from eBay in 2008 when a French court ruled the site was not doing enough to stop the sale of counterfeit merchandise. Later that year, Tiffany lost to eBay in the U.S., as a Manhattan judge ruled that the online auction site does not bear the responsibility to prevent auctioneers from selling fakes.
Last year, back in French court, eBay prevailed of L’Oreal’s lawsuit over counterfeit goods. The judge said eBay wasn’t accountable for fakes.
Inconsistent rulings against eBay have also occurred in courts in Belgium and Germany.
So, for now, it’s a small win for Louis Vuitton, but the standards are far from conclusive.
Read most at the WSJ.
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