French court orders eBay to pay for fakes

A French commercial court ordered eBay to pay more than €37.4 million (US$59 million) to Louis Vuitton because counterfeit goods were sold on the auction site, an Associated Press report said.

Or to give the company its full title, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, is home to such prestigious brands including Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Fendi, Emilio Pucci and Marc Jacobs, and had complained that it was hurt by the sale of knockoff bags and clothes on eBay, the report said.

Pierre Godet, an adviser to LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, was quoted by the report saying the Paris court's decision was 'an answer to a particularly serious question, on whether the Internet is a free-for-all for the most hateful, parasitic practices.'

EBay countered that LVMH is trying to crack down on Internet auctions merely because it is uncomfortable with the business model, which tends to cut out the middleman.

'If counterfeits appear on our site, we take them down swiftly,' eBay spokeswoman Sravanthi Agrawal said. 'But today's ruling is not about counterfeits. Today's ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers every day.'

She said eBay hopes to appeal the ruling.