eBay responds to french court ruling versus LVMH

Injunction is an abuse of selective distribution - Fine is disproportionate and out of step with other legal decisions

PARIS, FRANCE – November 30, 2009 – eBay responds to a decision by Commercial Court of Paris versus LVMH, to fine eBay €1.7 million in relation to an injunction that prevents French eBay users from buying or selling LVMH Group perfumes and cosmetics on any eBay website.

Alex von Schirmeister, General Manager of eBay in France, said: “Today’s outcome hurts consumers by preventing them from buying and selling authentic items online. The injunction is an abuse of ‘selective distribution’. It effectively enforces restrictive distribution contracts, which is anti-competitive.

“We believe that the higher courts will overturn this ruling and ensure that eCommerce companies such as eBay will continue to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to trade authentic goods.”

Mr von Schirmeister added, “The fine itself is disproportionate given that eBay complied with the Injunction. It is out of step with our legal victories in France, UK, Germany, Belgium and the US.”


Notes to Editors:

The injunction, which was issued in June 2008, required eBay to stop French users from buying or selling authentic LVMH perfume products on any eBay site in the world. To comply with the injunction, eBay used state of the art filtering software to check millions of daily listings, with thousands of listings of authentic items being rendered invisible and inaccessible to French eBay users. In its court submission, LVMH provided detailed information on just 1,341 listings out of 200 million listings that are live on eBay every day. eBay believes that these listings were posted by people who set out to deliberately circumvent the extensive systems that had been put in place. In total, 1091 listings (81%) that LVMH reported, the seller did not accurately describe the item being sold, containing either misspelled brand names, no brand names at all, or only pictures of the product. Appeals hearings in relation to this injunction and two related LVMH cases are scheduled for May 2010.