(AFP) – Aug 12, 2008
BRUSSELS (AFP) — Online auctioneer eBay won a Belgian court case Tuesday against L'Oreal after the French cosmetics giant sued it over the sale of counterfeit goods.
L'Oreal, in a statement, declared itself "extremely surprised" at the ruling and said it intended to appeal.
The French company has brought cases against eBay in five European nations, including Belgium, accusing the company of not doing enough to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods posted on its auction and sale sites.
The Belgian commercial court, the first jurisdiction to deliver a ruling, "has ruled in favour of eBay," said Sravanthi Agrawal, eBay spokeswoman in Europe.
The court ruled that the world's largest online auctioneer did not have "a general monitoring obligation" of what was on offer on its site.
"The judge confirmed that eBay acted diligently when it received letters from L'Oreal," the spokeswoman added.
"We cooperated by removing items L'Oreal complained about," she said.
The spokeswoman added that the cosmetics firm had also been told to pay 15,000 euros (22,400 dollars) in court costs.
L'Oreal said the court had made a mistake as it "minimised the role eBay plays in the sale of products through its platform," adding that the ruling diverged from the European Commission's recent interpretation of EU rules on the matter.
The court ruling contrasts with a decision by the Paris commercial court in June when eBay was ordered to pay nearly 40 million euros in damages to Louis Vuitton for selling fake luxury goods, in a ruling cheered as a victory for copyright protection.
EBay immediately announced it would lodge an appeal against that decision.
A month later in New York a US district judge ruled that eBay could not be held liable for trademark infringement for counterfeit items sold through its website, rejecting a case brought by luxury retailer Tiffany.
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