EBay plans to appeal $61 million French counterfeit ruling

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Online auctioneer eBay this week vowed to appeal a ruling by a French court that ordered it to pay approximately $61 million (40 million Euros) after the Paris-based Tribunal de Commerce ruled on June 30 eBay failed to adequately prevent counterfeit products from being sold on the site.

The Web site was ordered to pay the sum to French luxury goods group LVMH. The site was accused of having counterfeit products for sale such as handbags, clothes, jewelry and other luxury goods. The products were allegedly fake versions of designer brands such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton.

However, eBay claimed the ruling could hurt consumers and small businesses selling online.

"If counterfeits appear on our sites we take them down swiftly, but today's ruling is not about our fight against counterfeit; 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 everyday...” read a portion of a statement issued by Ebay.

“The ruling also seeks to impact the sale of second-hand goods as well as new genuine products, effectively reaching into homes and rolling back the clock on the Internet and liberty it has created,” the statement said. “The attempt to use the ruling to confuse the separate issues of counterfeit and restrictive sales suggests that counterfeit suits are being used by certain brand owners as a stalking-horse issue to reinforce their control over the market.”

LVMH, however, said eBay was guilty of “gross misconduct” toward its brands.

“EBay had not taken the necessary measures to prevent the sale of the counterfeit goods on its site,” the company stated in a press release.

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