eBay, LVMH settle lengthy lawsuit over fake goods

The agreement calls for eBay and the French luxury goods maker to "combat" counterfeit items that wind their way onto the online marketplace, says Reuters.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read


eBay and French luxury goods maker LVMH have finally settled a longstanding legal feud over the issue of fake products that pop up on the online site.

In a lawsuit launched in 2008, LVMH complained about the practice of fake knockoffs of its products appearing on eBay's site, charging that eBay didn't do enough to clamp down on the sale of such items. After several years of fines and appeals, the two sides have finally agreed to work together to better protect intellectual property rights and fight back against the sale of phony goods.

"eBay and LVMH today announced a cooperative effort to protect intellectual property rights and combat counterfeits in online commerce," the two companies said in a joint statement released on Thursday. "Thanks to the cooperation measures put in place, the companies have settled ongoing litigation."

Companies such as LVMH, Tiffany & Co, and L'Oreal have long contended that eBay maintains a lax attitude toward the listing and sale of counterfeit products on its website. In its defense, eBay has insisted that it spends a great deal of time and money trying to clamp down on the sale of counterfeit items. Either way, eBay has certainly spent enough time and money in court trying to defend itself against the host of lawsuits from certain retailers. So the latest agreement will at least spare eBay further legal trouble from one of Europe's largest fashion conglomerates.

No specific details of the settlement were revealed, nor did the companies explain how they plan to work together. Both companies touted the agreement as something in the best interests of the consumer as per the following joint statement from Michael Jacobson, senior vice president and general counsel at eBay, and Pierre Godé, vice president at LVMH:

"Thanks to our joint efforts, consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment globally."

LVMH is the European powerhouse behind a variety of premium-brand products, including Louis Vuitton fashion goods, Dior perfumes and cosmetics, and TAG Heuer watches and jewelry. The company's 2008 lawsuit against eBay not only complained of the sale of fake goods but also charged that the sale of legitimate products through eBay harmed its own sales, according to Reuters.

Since then, the two sides had been duking it out in court. In 2008, a French court ordered eBay to pay LVMH 38.6 million euros (at the time around $61 million). An appeals court lowered the fine to $2.5 million, though eBay still balked at the amount and the overall charges. In 2010, a Paris court ruled against eBay in yet another lawsuit that charged the company with using keywords on its site that hurt the Louis Vuitton brand.