French court favours eBay in L'Oreal infringement suit

LONDON - A French court has ruled against L'Oreal in its trademark infringement lawsuit with eBay, stating that the online auction company is not liable for the sale of counterfeit L'Oreal products.

L'Oreal sued eBay in France and four other countries, including the UK, Germany and Spain, alleging that the company was profiting from the sale of fake L'Oreal products, or those sourced from outside the European Union.

The judge ruled that eBay had met proper regulations to combat fake products on its website and called for the two companies to collaborate further to combat counterfeiters.

The win sets a precedent for the company in France, which recently lost a court battle with luxury brand owners Hermes and LVMH for selling counterfeit products.

Ebay said it employs a team of 2,000 people with a budget of $10m per year to take down fake listings from its auctions.

The win for eBay follows a similar victory against L'Oreal in Brussels, which ruled in favour of the auction website. Ebay also won a dispute in Germany when it was sued for selling counterfeit Rolex watches.

An eBay spokeswoman, said: "This is a clear legal victory for eBay and an important victory for consumers. We are delighted that eBay's meaningful efforts to fight counterfeits online have been recognised by the court.

"Today, 99% of all items listed on eBay are genuine products and we continue to work hard to ensure eBay is a safe and trusted place to shop.

"We are also delighted that our status as an internet hosting provider has been acknowledged, and we welcome the invitation to resolve the outstanding matters in an amicable way; we have always believed that cooperation is the best way to fight counterfeits.

"Ongoing dialogue and collaboration, rather than litigation, is the only way to effectively identify and remove any counterfeit items which do appear on our site."

Ebay said it expects its UK L'Oreal ruling to be passed at some point next week.

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