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Ebay Prevails in U.K. Ruling on Counterfeits

Ebay Prevails in U.K. Ruling on Counterfeits

The British High Court on Friday ruled eBay Inc. can’t be held legally accountable for the sale of counterfeit L’Oreal SA products through its online marketplace.

The ruling was the second blow this month for luxury companies’ efforts to control sales of their goods online in Europe, following a similar ruling in France last week. L’Oreal brought suits against eBay over counterfeits in five European countries, and courts have so far ruled in favor of eBay in Belgium, France and the U.K., and in favor of L’Oreal in Germany.

In its ruling, the court said relevant European trademark laws were unclear. It has referred the issue to the European Court of Justice for further guidance. It also ordered the companies to work together to resolve the counterfeiting problem by taking steps such as imposing restrictions on the volumes of high risk products that can be listed for sale at any one time. EBay has said suits over counterfeit goods are a cover for attempts by luxury firms to restrict legitimate online sales.


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