The Belgian Tribunal de Commerce has dismissed all claims by L’Oreal (Lancome Parfums et Beaute) brought against eBay regarding, among other things, the sale of counterfeit L’Oreal cosmetics and perfume products online. L’Oreal initiated legal action in the courts of France, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Spain in 2007. The Belgian dismissal is the first and only ruling regarding the legal action.
The Belgian tribunal, determining the case between eBay and L’Oreal, found that eBay does not have a general obligation to control/filter/assess the legality of the information posted on its site by service users. The Tribunal went on to rule that the procedures and programs put in place by eBay to fight counterfeits are both genuine and effective. eBay can therefore be considered as a “prudent” and “diligent” operator, echoing similar statements made by a US court last month in its rejection of Tiffany’s lawsuit against eBay.
eBay issued the following statement earlier today:
“This is the second successful court ruling in a row for eBay, both supporting our view that controlling prices and distribution reduces consumer choice. The litigation of counterfeits against eBay has been exposed as merely a stalking horse. eBay provides a vibrant and trusted marketplace that gives European consumers a good deal. We work to tackle the menace of counterfeit through action and co-operation with rights owners.”
Now that Belgium has come down with their ruling, it will be interesting to see if (and when) the other countries will follow suit.