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France court rules eBay intentionally led consumers to Louis Vuitton counterfeits

[JURIST] The Paris District Court [official website, in French] on Thursday ordered Internet auction house eBay to pay LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) [corporate website] €200,000 ($275,000) in damages for paying search engines to direct customers to counterfeit LVMH products. The court found that eBay registered names similar to Louis Vuitton [AP report] with search engines knowing that consumers looking for counterfeit products would search using those terms and be led to auctions on eBay selling those goods. The court also ordered eBay to pay LVMH €30,000 ($41,300) in attorney's fees and said that auction company will be fined €1,000 for any future violations of Thursday's judgment. A spokesperson for eBay said the company has not decided whether to appeal [WSJ report] the judgment.

In a separate case in September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] issued an advisory opinion against LVMH [JURIST report] in its suit to collect damages from Google for Google's AdWords system, which allows companies and individuals to purchase advertising space when a user searches for a product or brand name. In 2008, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled [JURIST report] that eBay has no duty to actively monitor its site for counterfeit goods. Earlier in 2008, however, a French court ordered eBay to pay LVMH $63 million [JURIST report] for failing to prevent the sale of counterfeit luxury goods.

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