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Ebay Fined $61M By French Court For Sales of Fake Goods

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the france-v.-the-internet-continued dept.

The Courts 399

A court in France ordered eBay to pay more than 61 mega-dollars to the parent company (LVMH) of Givenchy, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, because a user sold fake goods on the website. eBay has been sued by other 'luxury goods' vendors (such as Tiffany's (US), Rolex (Germany) and L'Oreal (EU)). Problems stem from some companies demanding that their merchandise (even legal merchandise) not be displayed nor sold as it is a violation of their 'property.' Others have complained that eBay is too slow to take down claims. Apparently eBay was hit with two violations: 1) eBay illegally allowed legitimately purchased and owned products made by LVMH to be resold on its website by 3rd parties not under the control of LVMH, and 2) not doing enough to protect LVMH's brands from illegal sales. eBay has said it will appeal. So eBay is to know what products every company allows to be sold before allowing them to on auction?

(There's also coverage at Yahoo News.)

Update: 07/01 17:15 GMT by T : That's LVMH throughout, rather than LVHM, as originally rendered.

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Even by petty French standards, this is sad (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016511)

The French government and courts have a long history of issuing prejudiced laws and decisions in favor of French companies (especially in cases where the opposition are American or British companies), but this is disturbing even by their standards. While ostensibly about counterfeit goods, this ruling goes FAR beyond that--giving the original producer full control of resell rights for even LEGITIMATE goods. In short, the ruling (if allowed to stand) basically says that no one actually owns any physical object anymore or can resell said object without permission of the original producer.

Want to resell your Corrola? Sorry, you have to get Toyota's permission first.

Want to resell your house? Not unless the original builder says okay!

Want to sell your soul? Well, that one you can do. Just become a French judge!

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (5, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016553)

The French companies are laughing until they're sued by the raw goods producing companies and told they can't distribute their handbags.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (4, Funny)

Erez.Hadad (1131843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017011)

I think that by collapsing the entire chain we get the alligators (or an animal activist acting on their behalf) sue the skin-producing companies for reselling their hides. At least that will get some good out of this.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017141)

In other news: eBay raises fees again to $61million Euros. PayPal to follow suit. Film at 11.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (5, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017109)

In other news, the cows have filed charged Louis Vuitton with Mass Moo-der as well as filing a Motion for Summary Judgemoont against the plaintiffs.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (5, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017177)

Even by pun standards, that's udderly horrible. I have quite a beef with you, my friend.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017243)

Stop mentioning everything that behooves your spotty opinions.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017397)

Wow, there's a lot of bull in this thread. The mooderators are having a field day.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (0, Troll)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016559)

Someone's obviously taken a page out of Microsoft's handbook.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (5, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016637)

So basically like what we have in the music and software worlds pretty much? You don't quite own that CD, you're just allowed to use it because the product they leased to you is on it ... something like that?

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (3, Informative)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017103)

So basically like what we have in the music and software worlds pretty much? You don't quite own that CD, you're just allowed to use it because the product they leased to you is on it ... something like that?

I know what you're getting at but, under normal circumstances, there's nothing stopping you from buying and selling used CDs. Now, copying/distributing the content on those CDs via different media - That's where the system falls apart.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016821)

And yet they wonder why the French Echonomy is sagging.
If the seller fears retribution from using and reslling french products. They will not get French products in the first place. 3rd party sales while doesn't direcly effect the bottom line it does get product awarenes of your goods.

If you get a used Toyota and you love it. If you choose to get a new car you may buy a Toyota. or other perople see that your used toyota has lased so long and they want a new car they would get a new Toyota, also the person who has sold the car if they liked it the chances are they would use the money to buy a new car of the same make, if they have brand loyality to that make.

I understand forgeries, as it could tarnish the brand names. But for legit items let them resell them.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (2, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016955)

There are two pretty legitimate sides of this argument. (1) an individual has a right to sell the stuff that she owns, and (2) a company has a right to protect their "brand".

I don't know what the EBay policy is on selling "fake" items, but if the companies care so much about "defending their brand" they should feel obligated to "re-buy" their products from customers who no longer have a use for such things. That would seem to balance the resale market.

Basically, if Tiffany's, Rolex, and L'Oreal will pay a "market price" to buy back legitimate goods that their customers want to resell, they can claim that EVERYTHING on EBay is fake, broken, or otherwise overpriced.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (1)

dascritch (808772) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017145)

It wasn't the point of the trial. LVMH even said (French TV) that reselling second-hand handbag was NOT the subject, because reselling is legal in France.

The main problem is the number of pure falsifications you can find on eBay, and lot of users doing this seems purely "professional" in this kind of fake business.

as opposed to, say, Echelon? (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017231)

The French government and courts have a long history of issuing prejudiced laws and decisions in favor of French companies (especially in cases where the opposition are American or British companies), but this is disturbing even by their standards.

As opposed to how the US does things [google.com] ? C'mon.

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017263)

Want to resell your Corrola? Sorry, you have to get Toyota's permission first.

Not really. As I understand it this is because "a user sold fake goods on the website", not legitimate stuff. This is like selling a counterfeit Toyota, witch is illegal, IRL AND on eBay. I am pleased to see that eBay is being held accountable for all the rip-offs users sell on that Website. It's like a street corner with all kinds of criminals who sell counterfeit fake goods, making buyers believe they are original "genuine" (TM by Microsoft).

Re:Even by petty French standards, this is sad (2, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017339)

The French government and courts have a long history of issuing prejudiced laws and decisions in favor of French companies (especially in cases where the opposition are American or British companies), but this is disturbing even by their standards. While ostensibly about counterfeit goods, this ruling goes FAR beyond that--giving the original producer full control of resell rights for even LEGITIMATE goods.

Of course, there are fewer French companies with an international reach than there are US companies, so this may explain that. When <foreign> company sues a French one it never makes the headlines after all (except here, sometimes).

However this does not explain the number of brain dead decisions by the local (yes, I'm French and live in Paris) courts that have happened lately. Now there *is* a cottage industry of resellers of fake handbags, mostly ordinary, everyday people, that supplement their income through eBay. The big names in this industry have always been nervous with counterfeiting as well as with the second hand market (the latter not making much sense).

For example one of the major luxury brands in Paris will allow Japanese tourists (Japanese are weird with this for some reason) only 3 bags per head in its shop. Those tourists (who of buy the bags that feature the brand most prominently on the outside) will actually recruit passers-by on the side walk to buy more bags for them.

Fakes (fairly poor quality ones for the most) used to be available in Vintimille, a border town on the Italian side. And a very popular destination, easily accessible by train or car. Apparently even the Italians got the message (although I heard the market only moved somewhere else).

Anyway this kind of stuff happens every now and then. This is our equivalent of your creationism. :(

First sale? (4, Insightful)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016563)

Does France not have anything along the lines of the 'first sale' doctrine?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

Re:First sale? (2, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017111)

Does France not have anything along the lines of the 'first sale' doctrine?

No, but they really should have a "first, duck!" rule. Even public displays of their government at work [mirror.co.uk] can be very dangerous.

L@@K (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016581)

A++ douchebags, would sue again.

Mega-dollars? (1)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016583)

When the hell did that become any sort of standard?

Re:Mega-dollars? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016685)

When the hell did that become any sort of standard?

Three kilodays ago.

Re:Mega-dollars? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016879)

If you mean 10 years, I believe that's called 3 kibidays now.

Re:Mega-dollars? (3, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016707)

More importantly the context makes Mega-dollars $10^6 - however you might have understood this as $2^10. When it's a few bites on a hard disk who cares but when it's hard cash...

Re:Mega-dollars? (4, Funny)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017187)

No, that would be a Mebidollar [wikipedia.org] (I assume you were meaning $2^20, since $2^10 would be a Kibidollar [wikipedia.org] ). ;)

Re:Mega-dollars? (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017357)

Hmm... You're right, of course. What's worse is that it took 30 mins on a techie site like this to pick up on my typo!

Reason to love America (3, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016591)

IIRC, Americans enjoy the right to sell any of their possessions, provided they acquired them legally.

Re:Reason to love America (1, Informative)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016763)

You can't acquire counterfeit goods legally. The summary is inflammatory because it casually lumps in numb-nuts lawsuits from manufacturers who want their stuff off of e-bay with the courtcase, which happened because people were selling *fake* goods.

I respectfully disagree (3, Insightful)

D.McGuiggin (1317705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016877)

You can't acquire counterfeit goods legally.

While I am not certain of the law (especially internationally), if you purchase counterfeit goods without knowing they're counterfeit, you have committed no crime and thus acquired them legally. Of course, once they're recognized as counterfeit, the police are within their obligation to seize them. I don't think the person who purchased the goods, barring some complicity, would be in any trouble.

Slashlawyers?

Re:Reason to love America (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016963)

You didn't read up on this case very well. The suing companies were not only saying that ebay had the obligation to remove counterfeit goods bearing their name, but unauthorized sales of LEGITIMATE goods as well. In other words, the companies were claiming the right to control ALL AVENUES of sale and resale of their goods (asserting that only they can authorize any sale or resale of their original product). And, sadly, the court agreed with them.

Re:Reason to love America (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016987)

EBay is simply an auction house, facilitating the auctioning of products. If people commit criminal acts viua EBay auctions then those individuals should be pursued, EBay should simply ensure that those people offering products for sale can be identified and should EBay fail in ensuring that the sellers of products can be identified then EBay should be held accountable.

So it is simply up to EBay to ensure it is not facilitating the anonymous selling of stolen or misrepresented products.

As for counterfeit products, as long as the buyer knows they are fakes who cares. The only thing you really end up paying for with 'genuine' fashion products is the bloated advertising costs as often enough the counterfeits come out of the same third world factories as the 'genuine' article.

Re:Reason to love America (2, Insightful)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017225)

EBay is simply an auction house, facilitating the auctioning of products.

Ebay is not just a simple auction house. They're obligated to follow local laws within the areas they sell, and it's enormously complicated. Otherwise they'd just be a huge fencing operation for stolen or illigitimate goods (which one could arue they are, but that's another story.)

So the question becomes whether Ebay did everything required by law to stem the sale of conterfeit goods. I would imagine right now any company who has ever had their goods copied and sold on Ebay is on the phone with their lawyer figuring out how much they can squeeze from Ebay. The whole things smells like French protectionism. I mean, they're holding Ebay liable for the whole sale, not just the ~5% they raked off the top.

As for the "who cares" arguement, well, the people whose brand has been ripped off care and the law is on their side. Apparently it's *entirely* on their side.

Re:Reason to love America (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017379)

Bullshit. I can buy as many "counterfeit" goods I want and no one can say a damn thing about it. Suppose I think the "Rilex" is actually a better watch than the real deal, I can certainly buy one. Even the definition of "counterfeit" is entirely determined by who wants to sue to protect their copyright, etc. (aside from counterfeit money), but that is strictly between the "original" manufacturer and whoever is making and/or selling the fakes, not the buyers.

            Once I buy something physical, unless it was stolen, it is mine and I can do whatever I damn well please with it, as long as I don't misrepresent it.

          Brett

Ban the french from using ebay (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016605)

Let them have fun playing with themselves.

france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016627)

Things like this show how far behind the times France has gotten.

At some point they even wanted to have French established as the official language of the EU...

Protectionism has never worked to any countries favour, France probably least of all.

Did you know that business meetings in France have to be in French ?

block France from eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016717)

Getting fined that much would make it much more profitable to just block all customer in France.

Re:block France from eBay (1)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016975)

Getting fined that much would make it much more profitable to just block all customer in France.

Or, at least to remove all your assets from anything the French can touch.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016747)

Did you know that business meetings in France have to be in French ?

Either I missed a really obvious joke or I'm otherwise not understanding. French is the official language in France, is it not? Why would it be an issue that business meetings in France have to be conducted in French?

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016853)

It would be an issue if a non-french speaking business were having a production meeting in their factory in france.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (2, Interesting)

Krojack (575051) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017079)

Those international businesses should have employees on hand that speak French if they wish to do business in France. If anything it should be up to the business holding the meeting on what language should be spoken. They may want to speak English or Russian to please the client more, but a law forcing private businesses to speak the national language is just stupid.

If you come into my house I expect you to not smoke and speak English. I don't have to accommodate you and allow smoking and to speak some other language I don't understand.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (2, Informative)

Alpha Whisky (1264174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016999)

Well, I have to call bullshit, every business meeting I ever went to in France was conducted in English, and I was working for a half French company!

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (2, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017157)

As I remarked elsewhere the rules are being broken left right and center, but they're in place just the same and that makes no sense at all to me.

Especially not when parties would voluntarily use a different language (such as English).

I personally walked out of one meeting a couple of years ago after being told that only French was acceptable because of a government requirement.

Too bad I was the guy representing a well paying customer, yes, I speak French but not good enough to get the finer points in a very intensive business meeting and definitely not when the matter is technological.

Half (or more than half) the technical English words have been forcibly given a French counterpart just to avoid 'pollution' (whatever that may be) of the French culture.

The interesting thing is that this 'island behavior' usually includes the French language somehow, check out Quebec and Belgium for instance.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017031)

It's the "have to" part that makes it so pathetically heavy-handed (and culturally arrogant). The idea of passing a law mandating specific language usage for private companies would be laughed out of Parliament in virtually any other country in the world.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017067)

Because people should be free to communicate in any language that they choose to use regardless of what the government dictates.

Of course plenty of companies break these rules because they are ridiculous to begin with but the fact that the rules exist is evidence of a very cramped world view. France still has trouble to come to terms with no longer being a super power any more.

The end result of all these silly rules is that certain meetings simply don't take place, companies avoid doing business in France.

France as a whole suffers because of this language police, further fuelling the fires of isolationism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_policy_in_France [wikipedia.org]

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (0, Flamebait)

treuf (99331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017033)

Did you know that business meetings in France have to be in French ?

Did you know that business meetings in the US have to be in English ?

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (2, Informative)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017191)

Actually they do not.

English is not even the official language of the US, I only have wikipedia handy as a reference and we all know I could have just edited that page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

But I swear I didn't, really...

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

lusiphur69 (455824) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017197)

There is no such law - business meetings can be held in Swahili if I so desire.

If there is a law such as this in France, it's pretty disturbing, on par with Quebec's language police - la office de la langue francaise (why they use office when bureau is correct french is beyond me, but hey, noone said cultural isolationists have to make sense - besides, the french spoken in Quebec is a patois mish-mash and hardly understandable by anyone who speaks parisienne)

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017239)

it's called 'franglais' :)

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017161)

Did you know that business meetings in France have to be in French ?

Yeah, and? Many Americans want it so that everything has to be in English, no Spanish allowed. I could see a large percentage from at least one party in the US in favor of a similar law here dictating what language all advertising and business meetings have to be in.

Re:france is rapidly making itself irrelevant (1)

lusiphur69 (455824) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017305)

The point is, even with the USA becoming increasingly isolationist, you have no such laws - rightly, they are viewed as odious.

The government should stay out of our bedrooms - and out of our boardrooms. The point you clearly missed is that France has such laws already, and should be derided for it.

Mega-dollar??? (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016659)

Is that one up version of the super dollar [wikipedia.org] .

And yes, I know its technically correct but it's also ultra-geek even by slashdot standards.

Re:Mega-dollar??? (1)

NumbDr9 (601117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016867)

This is the first time I've heard the term mega-dollar used, but a very similar term, megabucks [wikipedia.org] , has been common usage for quite some time.

Perhapse the author meant to say megabucks. Or maybe this was an attempt refine the term to be more precise (megabucks is often used to refer to a large but indefinite amount of money).

Re:Mega-dollar??? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016947)

Is that one up version of the super dollar.

Yes it is. And soon someone will become the first to make 1 Giga-dollar and become

*drum roll*

a gigadollionaire

Why... (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016679)

Why can't we resell what we want?

Megadollars? (1)

The Crooked Elf (1042996) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016719)

Megadollars? Seriously? I mean, I know this is news for nerds and all, but come now.

Re:Megadollars? (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016819)

I agree. Even the most dedicated parental basement denizen should know the correct terminology for this would be "megabucks".

For the historically challenged, "Megabucks" predates "Megabytes" and is indeed a base 10 measurement.

Not 'property' (4, Informative)

twatter (867120) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016739)

It doesn't matter that the term is enclosed in quotes in the submission. We're talking about trademarks here. If these companies don't take action regarding this they will be allowing their trademarks to be diluted, making them more and more difficult to defend.

This has nothing to do with IP.

Any defendant in court for trademark infringement can bring up the fact that the plaintiff is allowing eBay to sell thousands of cheap imitations. And they would win the case based on that, probably.

Trademark law pretty much requires things like these be done, and the companies have no choice but to go after the entity facilitating the sales.

It's not nice, but that's what it is.

Re:Not 'property' (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016811)

There is no dilution of a trademark if it is used to identify the item covered by it. LVHM succeeded in getting eBay sanctioned for allowing users to sell _real_ handbags made by LVHM, not just fakes. From the SUMMARY:

1) eBay illegally allowed legitimately purchased and owned products made by LVHM to be resold on its website by 3rd parties not under the control of LVHM,

Re:Not 'property' (1)

twatter (867120) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016883)

I doubt that part of the complaint would stand, because it goes against the first-sale doctrine.

The other problem would be price-fixing. For example, they cannot legally prevent me from buying lots of handbags and re-selling them on the open market for whatever price I can get.

No, companies like these are scared to death of cheap knock-offs from China. That's their greatest terror.

Re:Not 'property' (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017219)

I doubt that part of the complaint would stand, because it goes against the first-sale doctrine.

It stood. RTFA: "This ruling came down against eBay on two fronts. The court faulted the online company for `guilty negligence,' for not doing enough to prevent fake goods from being sold on its site. The court also ruled that eBay was responsible for the `illicit sale' of perfumes from the LVMH empire, which can be sold only through the brands' `selective distribution networks.'"

Re:Not 'property' (1)

twatter (867120) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017327)

Oh, that's bad. I didn't RTFA obviously (keeping with tradition), the Slasdhot article submission specifically says "sale of fake goods"

Thanks for the clarification, that evidently should not be allowed to stand in any way.

Re:Not 'property' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017359)

I doubt that part of the complaint would stand, because it goes against the first-sale doctrine.

The other problem would be price-fixing. For example, they cannot legally prevent me from buying lots of handbags and re-selling them on the open market for whatever price I can get.

Well, they can. France has different laws, and they restrict who can sell products to the authorized agents of the manufacturer.

Kinda pathetic IMHO, but that's the law in France.

Re:Not 'property' (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016925)

But it's not only about conterfeit goods (that should actually be banned, I'm OK with that) - it's about reselling genuine, original and legally acquired goods. Read the summary again, this time more carefully.

I don't know if that's true legally (1)

D.McGuiggin (1317705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017019)

If these companies don't take action regarding this they will be allowing their trademarks to be diluted, making them more and more difficult to defend.

I don't think that's accurate. I beleive, that even if the articles in question are fake, if they are represented as real, that is sufficient for trademark protection. In other words, the company is under the impression that this is a resale of legitimate goods, and so does not seek to protect their trademark. If the goods were obviously fake, and obviously not from the stated manufacturer, that would be different (I think)

Any defendant in court for trademark infringement can bring up the fact that the plaintiff is allowing eBay to sell thousands of cheap imitations. And they would win the case based on that, probably.

Again, I think you'd have to demonstrate that the company was aware that these were knockoffs and not just resales. Without that, they simply say "we thought they were reselling our stuff" and win your case without a fight.

Uh, I think. Maybe...

Re:Not 'property' (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017309)

Reading the article, there are two cases here. Ebay was fined because they haven't done enough to prevent counterfeit goods being sold and allowing legitimate goods to be sold outside their normal distribution channels. In the first case, the manufacturer has every right to protect their trademarks. It's not that Ebay isn't trying; the complaint is that Ebay doesn't do it fast/good enough.

The second case is that certain companies wanted to ensure that you could only buy their products from them or their authorized distributors and has nothing to do with trademarks. Basically these companies want to control their entire distribution and eliminate third party sales. This goes against the first sale doctrine. Recent court cases in the US regarding demo CDs and software in the US have reinforced that consumers have the right to resell legitimate goods if those goods were obtained legally.

Personally, I think some companies go too far to control their brand. I had a friend who sold gun accessories on ebay. It's illegal to sell guns on ebay. He sold things like holsters, cleaning kits, etc. Every time he put up an auction that had the name of a certain company, that auction would get removed because the company would complain about trademark violations. It was rather asinine because the auction would be something like "Holster, fits CompanyA Model1 pistol". Removed. "Cleaning kit for CompanyA Model1, Model2, Model3 pistols" Removed. Other companies didn't seem to have issues. Imagine if you couldn't put an auction like "Hubcap, fits 2000 Ford Escort" because Ford complained you violated their trademark.

Laughed Out of Court (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016777)

This would get laughed out of court in the United States.

First Sale doctrine.

God Bless America!

Received from eBay yesterday, revised terms! (5, Informative)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016783)

Received from eBay yesterday, revised user agreement and privacy policy terms. What a coincidence!

Received: Jun-30-08
Changes to the eBay User Agreement and Privacy Policy

I'm writing to let you know that the eBay User Agreement and eBay Privacy Policy have been updated, effective immediately for new users and on August 13, 2008, for current users.

The most important thing to keep in mind about this update is that your rights, and our responsibilities, under the User Agreement and Privacy Policy have changed very little. This update was spurred by an international project, rolling out now, that will make the user agreements and privacy policies for eBay platforms around the world much more consistent. This way, when you interact with any eBay platform around the world, you can be sure that very similar policies apply to you no matter where you do your transactions.

There is one substantive change to our User Agreement I'd like to point out. We changed the "Content" and "Liability" sections to accommodate a new program we're rolling out worldwide. That program makes catalogs of content and product descriptions available to sellers, so they can easily include complete and up-to-date product information for the items they list.

Similarly, we've revised the Privacy Policy's "Disclosure" section to make sure that the language we've used there accurately reflects the ways in which we're transferring information between companies in the eBay Inc. corporate family to streamline services, fight fraud and provide you with the best, most relevant experience when you use any of the sites or services of the eBay corporate family.

With these changes, we continue to make sure that our legal documents are consistent with the ways our sites and services are evolving and that we meet the needs of our user community. We hope you'll agree that these changes will make the eBay sites and services work better for you. If you accept the new User Agreement and Privacy Policy, you don't need to take any action. If you do not wish to accept the new User Agreement or Privacy Policy, please refer to our Help pages for instructions on how to close your account.

Thank you for using eBay and we look forward to many more successful transactions!

Sincerely,

Scott Shipman Senior Counsel -- Global Privacy Practices eBay Inc.


The important change is in the liability section:

Liability
You will not hold eBay responsible for other users' content, actions or inactions, or items they list. You acknowledge that we are not a traditional auctioneer. Instead, the sites are a venue to allow anyone to offer, sell, and buy just about anything, at anytime, from anywhere, in a variety of pricing formats and venues, such as stores, fixed price formats and auction-style formats. We are not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers. We have no control over and do not guarantee the quality, safety or legality of items advertised, the truth or accuracy of users' content or listings, the ability of sellers to sell items, the ability of buyers to pay for items, or that a buyer or seller will actually complete a transaction.

We do not transfer legal ownership of items from the seller to the buyer, and nothing in this agreement shall modify the governing provisions of California Commercial Code 2401(2) and Uniform Commercial Code 2-401(2), under which legal ownership of an item is transferred upon physical delivery of the item to the buyer by the seller. Unless the buyer and the seller agree otherwise, the buyer will become the item's lawful owner upon physical receipt of the item from the seller, in accordance with California Commercial Code 2401(2) and Uniform Commercial Code 2-401(2). Further, we cannot guarantee continuous or secure access to our services, and operation of the sites may be interfered with by numerous factors outside of our control. Accordingly, to the extent legally permitted, we exclude all implied warranties, terms and conditions. We are not liable for any loss of money, goodwill, or reputation, or any special, indirect, or consequential damages arising out of your use of our sites and services. Some jurisdictions do not allow the disclaimer of warranties or exclusion of damages, so such disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you.

Regardless of the previous paragraph, if we are found to be liable, our liability to you or to any third party is limited to the greater of (a) the total fees you paid to us in the 12 months prior to the action giving rise to the liability, and (b) $100.

This all seems quite timely, huh? I'm sure it's a coincidence.

Fees will increase, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016921)

And expect fees to increase.

They'll pass it on to the sellers.

Stupid and dangerous (5, Interesting)

khton (1146311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016785)

This is not the first time that French courts show a complete misunderstanding of how the Internet works... And this goes even further than net economics.

Most french used cars are still sold via a single newspaper called "La Centrale des Particuliers". Should this newspaper verify that each car is rightfully owned by its seller ? I cannot imagine any judge trying to enforce this...

Hopefully, this judgment shall be broken by the "Cour de Cassation", because it does not make any sense. Maybe the judge was only trying to get some publicity. This happens a lot,

Craig'slist has the right idea. (5, Insightful)

jd.schmidt (919212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016791)

While it is VERY silly to expect EBay to prevent all counterfeit items AND that whole resale of trademarked items is scary, it might point out a flaw in their business model. Consider a "consignment" store or pawn shop that takes a cut of each sale and is stocked with stolen and fake items. Eventually, if you have enough of this nonsense, I think it is fair to consider that store a fence and not a legitimate business.

The more EBay takes a "cut" of each sale, the more they become part of the transaction. Perhaps a flat fee. I am sure EBay wants to make as much profit as possible, but if they become a party to each transaction they can't help but take on some liability.

Re:Craig'slist has the right idea. (1)

ink (4325) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016953)

http://paris.en.craigslist.org/clo/693065258.html

Agenda fonctionnel LOUIS VUITTON moyen modÃle en cuir épi noir.

Occasion mais trÃs peu servi et en excellent état. L'agenda est livré avec les intercalaires et des pages répertoires et de notes blaches et de couleur ainsi que des pochettes carte de visites. L'agenda est vendu 335 euros neuf en boutique. Fermoir avec bouton pression. 6 anneaux (taille standard, vous trouverez des recharges sans aucune difficulté) 6 fentes pour cartes de crédit Une petite poche sur la couverture interieur (en sus des 6 fentes pour CB) devant et une grande à la fin de l'agenda.

Wow, slashdot sucks for accented characters.

Re:Craig'slist has the right idea. (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017059)

Que???

Re:Craig'slist has the right idea. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017089)

Slashdot sucks at a lot of places. With all this Web 2.0 crap, you would think they would have 1 server for IPv6, or support for UTF-8... ... I am not renewing my subscription that is for sure.

Thanks for saying that! It seems like every time there is a complain about it, someone will come along saying "a lot many websites suck at that!!!".

Re:Craig'slist has the right idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017097)

"Wow, slashdot sucks for accented characters."

Have you considered the fact that it's an english language website?

And yes, it is, no matter how you'd like to pretend otherwise.

Re:Craig'slist has the right idea. (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017039)

While it is VERY silly to expect EBay to prevent all counterfeit items

As far as I knew, they had their own version of a take-down notice, and insisted that various companies search for their knockoffs online.

This hurts eBay how? (2, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016807)

eBay, while not a friend of mine, is a great tool to ascertain value in various markets. I use eBay daily to judge pricing for items I want to buy, or items I may wish to sell, notably collectibles (I hate collectibles, but own some). eBay's overhead is always passed on to sellers.

When eBay gets hit with a judgment for allowing someone else to sell a product, that judgment will only be passed on to sellers in the future. $60m is not a big figure, and considering that eBay lists hundreds of millions of items annually, the cost to offset this judgment as passed on to sellers is less than a penny per item. Not a huge cost to eBay.

The trademark holders are the ones who have a lot to fear, though, which is why they're going after eBay in friendly jurisdictions. I've seen some knockoff items sold online, and they're fairly good, and in some cases better quality, than the originals. With the coming economic recession, I'm sure many previous buyers of the overpriced consumer goods are likely pulling out of buying new products, so the trademark holders need these judgments collected just to keep their heads above water.

eBay should fight this, strongly, because they are merely a middle man, and they do offer the ability of a company to pull auctions if they're deemed illicit or illegal. Yes, eBay is probably slow on pulling every auction, but the fact that the market shows a demand for a given product, even a knock-off, means that the market isn't going away. Surely it will only hurt the trademark holders more when the news media tells consumers that knock-off products are so readily available and so cheap.

Good luck, eBay, I hope you win the appeal. If not, you'll just pass the cost on to sellers, and no one will be concerned a year or two from now.

Sales tax revolt (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016825)

Sounds like a perfect excuse for the French to stop paying sales tax. If the item doesn't actually belong to you, why should you be responsible for paying for it?

Oh, and I think LVHM might want to explain to government why they've been hiding at least $61M of their property from the tax authorities.

Two problems and some sanity... (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016833)

Before everyone gets on their high horses about this, remember:

1) French companies sued mainly because fake goods were sold on eBay. Selling fake stuff (anywhere, on the net and off) is a big problem for French luxury companies.

2) French companies also sued to prevent people selling real luxury goods at cut prices. This is abusive since it criminalizes legal owners and sellers in order to protect their 'official' resellers. However, eBay has appealed and I am pretty certain this will be struck down by the French courts.

Finally, of course, this leaves the problem of certifying that, let's say a Chanel bag, is the real thing on eBay and not a fake. This could be helped by supplying some sort of authenticity voucher that sellers could produce if asked by eBay.

That would solve the problem: eBay could simply say to a seller "please show us the voucher that says this is the genuine article or pull your offer". Yes, I know, what's to say the seller is not going to produce a fake voucher, but still.

The thing with France right now is that they are trying to combine two things: e-commerce and checking that articles sold are genuine. Not an easy thing to pull off, and these fscking French companies are not taking the right path (suing instead of cooperating). Then again, maybe eBay just refused to cooperate, and they thought suing was the easiest way to obtain results and a more cooperative eBay.

So - as strange as it may seem right now - this could have a positive impact on the quality of eBay auctions. Think about it for a moment, before posting stupid French jokes.

Re:Two problems and some sanity... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016967)

Mode parent up please.

The clause against selling legitimate, pre-owned (or non-channel-partner, but still legally purchased) should be thrown out by the appeals court -- or eBay should stand on principle and "quit France." As for the other part, I am pretty sure eBay is NOT doing enough to stop the sale/auction of illegal (fake Brand named) merchandise. They have always behaved like an outfit that will do the minimum necessary to "police" bad deals going down, and give the appearance of "profit maximization at all costs, including borderline unethical behavior."

Too bad both parties can't lose -- or may be they can!

Re:Two problems and some sanity... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017175)

2) French companies also sued to prevent people selling real luxury goods at cut prices. This is abusive since it criminalizes legal owners and sellers in order to protect their 'official' resellers. However, eBay has appealed and I am pretty certain this will be struck down by the French courts.

I hope that this is struck down, but I don't think it is so certain. European companies have already used the courts to prevent "parallel imports" -- otherwise known as gray market imports -- items legally bought abroad and re-imported into the EU (or imported by a company not authorized by the manufacturer to import into the EU). Perhaps LVHM claimed that these genuine items sold on eBay fell into this category.

Caveat emptor (1)

D.McGuiggin (1317705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017195)

We all know what it means, and that's the only solution necessary. Don't buy a Rolex off of eBay. If you do, then "caveat emptor".

Think about it for a moment, before posting stupid French jokes.

No French jokes, stupid or otherwise, but I will say this. France is derided as being overly protectionist, and it's hard not to think this is more proof of the same. I'm sure that, given time and resources, we could find a silver lining in any cloud, but that doesn't make bad policy good policy.

Business as usual (1)

K.os023 (1093385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016845)

This appears to be yet more LVMH [wikipedia.org] shenanigans. They want their products to only be available through their retail network and attack any perceived affront to the brand. It's not the first time they use the courts [bbc.co.uk] to try to get their way.

Actually, this is good (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016873)

I bought a "Sony" Memory Stick Pro Duo 8GB from ebay the other week.

It's a fake. Annoyed the hell out of me. It works and is 8GB but it's slow as hell.

Unfortunately I can't find a way to raise a dispute on ebay except "contact the seller", and when I try that it says the seller is no longer a member of ebay...

So yeah, it would be nice to have some assurance that what I'm buying is the real thing.

(I agree that this ruling is ridiculous if it allows companies to control resale of their goods, but getting counterfeits off ebay is worthwhile).

Re:Actually, this is good (1)

JewGold (924683) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017077)

I can feel your pain. I bought a hard drive on eBay that was "brand new" from a seller with 300 good feedbacks. Hooked it up and smartmontools tells me it has 12000 hours and several hundred power cycles on it.

I've found the best way to avoid problems is to buy from sellers who've been on eBay for a year or more. Fake sellers might have a few hundred feedback, but usually have only been selling for a few weeks or months.

Re:Actually, this is good (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017395)

My rule of thumb for eBay is only buy from vendors with 5,000+ sales, 98% or greater positive feedback, and no negative comments in the last 30 days. I'll adjust that a little here and there, but not much. I've never gotten burnt on eBay out of over a hundred purchases.

Re:Actually, this is good (1)

quintessentialk (926161) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017331)

Ebay is a horrible place to buy new electronics. I don't think I've every seen a better price on a (new) computing or electronics product than what I could find through pricewatch or pricegrabber. If I saw something for a decent price, on a 'new' product, I would suspicious.

And let me now complain about the proliferation of ebay 'stores' listing hundreds of 'NEW, IN BOX' ITEMS that completely drown out the direct seller-to-buyer listings where they might be actual value.

Legal Disclaimer of Sales for eBay (2, Funny)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016887)

You will not and have not sold, allowed the resell, schemed, plotted, or remained unaware of sales of any of [insert company name] products, ideas, images, trademarks, copyrights, materials both existent and non existent belonging to [insert company name] if it violets what [insert company name] believes to be it's profit margin with or without justification. Failure to adhere to this notice from this point forward, and or up until this point shall result in the immediate suing of every penny we believe we may acquire through the original purchase, and all subsequent purchases of product for it's entire existence in time including but not limited to the resell of the product after it has been recycled and put into pieces of many other commodities, all without deduction of expected or unexpected expenses involved with re-acquiring and reselling said product.

Have a nice day.

Could you fix the Company name in the Summary ? (3, Informative)

brufar (926802) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016893)

Summary calls it LVHM, but the company website AND both news stories call it LVMH.

http://www.lvmh.com/ [lvmh.com]

At the very least if you are going to capitalize the company reference multiple times throughout the article, please work on getting the 4 letters in the correct order..

A company can dictate what I can sell? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016959)

First sale doctrine doesn't hold anymore?

Hey, this is great, you know, from now on I can dictate to my employer that he may not resell my work...

Re:A company can dictate what I can sell? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017123)

yeah, and your employer will also say that you may not WORK for him anymore either =P

Re:A company can dictate what I can sell? (1)

Skeet112 (1088203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017385)

Wouldn't your bosses and managers have to pay you their salary then? :)

Oh wow Stupid French (0, Flamebait)

cryptodan (1098165) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016973)

The seller should be held accountable not the site he sold stuff at.

LVHM, the homeless brand of the future :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017057)

LVHM has made their brand worthless and their products $0 in value, since their customers can only give away their used LVHM merchandise.

What is the point paying premium when homeless are going to be having it also? LVHM, the homeless brand of the future :-)

Cisco's next! (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017093)

Cisco will be next on the bandwagon. They've been trying to stop second-hand sales of their equipment for years.

France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017105)

Could somebody please just disconnect France from the internet!?

Playing Devil's Advocate (2, Interesting)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017137)

eBay does let a lot of counterfeit and bootlegged products sell and they never seemed too concerned about removing them. I tried an experiment where I reported about 40 obviously bootlegged DVDs, and a few sellers who deal heavily in them. A few days later, not one auction pulled, not one user banned.

Until they get sued, they don't have a fiscal reason to pull an auction of bootlegs.

Chilling the venues... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017147)

Idea for a line of CafePress objects: "Not Louis Vuitton; but at least I fucking own it." (replace with other LVHM brands as appropriate)

Crude snark aside, I wonder if, in the long term, this sort of thing will reduce the cachet associated with these sorts of brands? The marketing of luxury stuff is heavy on invocations of status, and ownership, and quasi-aristocratic tradition. None of these things are even remotely compatible with goods that are considered to be controlled by the "IP rights-holder" forever and ever and ever. Quite the opposite in fact. The same phenomenon is interesting to note with home videos, which we are constantly being told to "add to our collection" or "own it on DVD" despite the fact that the producers of such things generally strongly assert the "licenced not sold" position. Luxury brands are a more dramatic example; being more expensive and more closely tied to a perception of a sort of premarket or nonmarket ideal of privilege. It would seem to me that goods commissioned and created for you personally or even purely generic goods that you actually own are both much closer to what luxury brands pretend to be than those luxury brands are.

So far, it seems that a generous dose of marketing has resolved this little dissonance; but it is perhaps the most serious structural weakness behind the notion of luxury branding. In an ideal world, this would be a nice point of attack for notions of value and quality based on individual and unique artistic creations, and the social and economic structures they involve. I'm not particularly optimistic about this happening, given that people seem to have ignored the transformation of traditional luxury brands into branded, mass-market, commodity items; but it is an interesting possibility.

the French don't have a First Sale doctrine equiv? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017171)

Problems stem from some companies demanding that their merchandise (even legal merchandise) not be displayed nor sold as it is a violation of their 'property.'

Do the French have some sort of equivalent to the first sale doctrine ruling [wikipedia.org] ?

Articles sucks: the crux is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017181)

...whether or not e-bay should be considered a "courtier" (broker), with the legal obligations attached to it, among which the verification of the legality of the goods.

E-bay position is that they are just a website which helps people connecting together with no strings attached, the court position is that e-bay should be considered a courtier (a legal entity running auctions) with the rights and obligations attached.

Whether this is a good decision or not is an other issue, but at least, in some french articles, such as http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2008/07/01/ebay-est-condamne-par-le-tribunal-de-commerce-de-paris-a-verser-38-millions-d-euros-a-lvmh_1064965_3234.html [lemonde.fr] , this is much clearer.

That should clarify it for some of the trolls...

I think Ebay is wrong here... (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017333)

but only because they set the precedent... Ebay is constantly pulling auctions with little or no warning from people based on companies asking them too without really looking into "why". In some cases it's very legitimate, like say Blizzard not wanting people to sell their WoW accounts and so they work with Ebay to pull them down. On the other hand it can be something we see as silly as the case of LVHM not wanting their products sold by 3rd parties.

Name Brand, Designer items are expensive because their is a name and a service associated with them that can only be consistently offered if the company has a limited distribution channel it can accurately monitor. For example: I purchased a Louis Vuitton purse and matching wallet for my wife for a ridiculous amount of money. When I purchased it at the LV store they took my name, her name and a lot of other info. Now we've relocated three times since then (4 years later) and we can still go into any LV store to have the purse cleaned and treated for free just by giving them our names and info. Luxury items are not just expensive for the sake of being expensive, their is a service and expectation that comes with having them, otherwise there would be no difference between JC Penny and Coach.

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