eBay fined €200k over Louis Vuitton keywords

Louis Vuitton Vintage Trunks
Creative Commons License photo credit: geishaboy500

eBay has been fined again in its ongoing legal dispute in France with LVMH. Reuters is reporting that a Parisian court has fined the company €200,00 (approx. US$274,000 or £175,000) for using misspelt versions of the trademark “Louis Vuitton” as part of its search engine advertising. eBay was ordered to pay another €30,000 in legal costs.

LVMH accused eBay of “harming the trademark and domain name of Louis Vuitton”, and of misleading internet users with keywords such as “Vitton,” “Viton” and “Wuiton”.

eBay claimed they were simply using the misspellings to direct people to the site to buy genuine LV merchandise, and accused LVMH of trying to exercise “total control” over where goods were sold. The MD of eBay France, Yohan Ruso, told Reuters he was “disappointed” by the fine: “we recognise the facts but we think the sanction is disproportionate.” LVMH had been asking for €1.2million.

In December eBay was fined €1.7million for failing to comply with a 2008 injunction to block French eBay users from buying or selling LVMH Group perfumes and cosmetics on any eBay website.