Cosmetic giant awaiting verdict on eBay case

Online auction site eBay will learn tomorrow whether it has lost a case brought against it by L’Oreal over the sale of fake fragrances and make-up.

A French court is expected to deliver its judgment in proceedings launched by the Paris-based cosmetics giant in 2007.

In recent years a number of luxury goods firms have sued eBay over sales of counterfeit products.

The auction site says that it has measures in place to remove fakes and argues that it simply provides a trading platform for consumers to buy and sell products.

Last year L’Oreal lost a similar case it brought against eBay in Belgium, and it is awaiting the outcome of separate proceedings in the UK.

An eBay spokeswoman said: “While we can’t comment on the outcome of the case tomorrow, eBay is committed to consumer choice.

“We want to make sure that consumers can use the internet to find the best price for their favourite, genuine products, particularly in the current economic climate when every penny counts.”

L’Oreal launched a separate action against eBay at London’s High Court last month.

The company argued before Mr Justice Arnold that eBay should be liable for the sale of counterfeit goods and parallel imports which breach its trademark.

Henry Carr QC, representing L’Oreal, told the judge that the company objected to the sale of counterfeits of its products, parallel imports, unboxed cosmetics and testers.

He argued that eBay’s methods of preventing their sale was “ineffective”.

The auction site is contesting the case, and the High Court is expected to make a ruling at the end of this month.

eBay said it removed 2.1 million potentially counterfeit listings after being alerted by rights owners and 2 million “blatantly infringing” listings worldwide last year.

Last June a French court ruled in favour of luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and ordered eBay to pay it more than €33m over the sale of fake bags and clothes.

A month later a court in New York gave a judgment in eBay’s favour in a case brought by luxury jewellery firm Tiffany.

Judge Richard Sullivan ruled that companies like Tiffany were responsible for policing their trademarks online, not auction platforms like eBay.

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