Online marketplace eBay is free to continue selling counterfeit products without any personal liability, according to the essence of a judgment in the High Court in London, after beauty giant L'Or?al made its case for
the online market trading company to be more liable for ensuring products sold on its website are genuine.
Online company eBay immediately claimed victory in the case, but the court did not absolve it from all responsibility for the products it sells. It called upon the 'retailer' to demand that sellers disclose their names and addresses and to act upon negative feedback from users.
Importantly, it also called on eBay to be sensitive to the volumes of 'high-risk' personal products, such as fragrances and also referred parts of European trade mark law and the eCommerce directive to the European Court of Justice for clarification.
L'Or?al responded positively to these court recommendations, saying it was 'confident of a positive outcome', while eBay's Head of Trust & Safety Richard Ambrose dismissed the notion of counterfeit products altogether in relation to this and other cases.
Ambrose said: ‘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.
’When companies try to prevent genuine items being sold through the internet they demonstrate that they are out of step with consumers, how they use the internet to shop and, at this time when every penny counts, the importance of shopping around to get the best price.
’Furthermore, following legal victories for eBay in the UK, US, France and Belgium, we reiterate again that cooperation and dialogue is what is needed, not litigation. Only by working together can we collectively address the issues that concern eBay, rights owners and consumers.’
Meanwhile, L'Or?al is continuing to take eBay to court with similar cases now said to be pending in both Germany and Spain.