L’Oreal suit against eBay rejected

LONDON: French cosmetics giant L'Oreal failed Friday in a bid to sue US online auction site eBay for selling counterfeit goods.

A judge at the High Court in London ruled that eBay was "not jointly liable" for trademark infringements committed by users of the site.

L'Oreal had argued eBay was liable for counterfeit goods and parallel imports sold on its website which breach the cosmetic company's trademark.

But the site argued it simply provided a trading platform for consumers to buy and sell products.

Justice Richard Arnold said it was "common ground that over the last few years counterfeiters have become increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to replicate the appearance of genuine cosmetics and fragrances".

He said: "As a result it is increasingly difficult even for experts to identify counterfeit products by visual inspection. Often it may only be possible to identify a counterfeit product by chemical analysis."

Richard Ambrose, eBay's head of Trust and Safety, said after the case: "This is an important judgment because it ensures that consumers can continue to buy genuine products at competitive prices on eBay.

"As such, it is a victory for consumers and the thousands of entrepreneurs who sell legitimate goods on eBay every day."

In a statement issued after the ruling, eBay said that last year it hosted 2.7 billion listings globally and "only 0.15 percent of them were identified as potentially counterfeit".

EBay said the ruling, along with similar judgements in France, the United States, Germany and Belgium "reinforces that eBay is a safe and trusted place to shop".