L'Oreal have filed a complaint against eBay after counterfeit fragrances using its brand name were discovered.
12 July 2011 | Category: Online
The online auction company eBay, as well as other online marketplaces, may be held responsible for counterfeit good sold through their websites, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The ruling comes in the midst of a battle between eBay and French cosmetics giant, L'Oreal, who filed a complaint in five countries, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, and UK, against eBay for infringement after noticing counterfeit fragrances and cosmetics being sold through the website. In addition, L'Oreal hopes to stop the practice of "parellel importing", in which products intended for sale outside of the European markets are imported through eBay.
L'Oreal's case against eBay was dismissed in Belgium, and mediation between the two companies continues in France. The ruling from the European Court of Justice comes as guidance on trademark law after the UK High Court referred the case. Though the opinion of the ECJ is not binding, it is generally followed.
The ruling states that any online retailer with an "active role" in selling or promoting the sales of fake products could be held liable. In addition, the ECJ said that national courts could effectively halt trademark infringements through actions that are "effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and must not create barriers to legitimate trade."
Following the ECJ ruling, the case will now return to the UK High Court for judgment.