eBay's perfume ban confirmed

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eBay’s appeal to stay an injunction banning the sale of ‘grey-market’ perfumes in France has failed. A French court has upheld a judgement from last month, that Kenzo, Guerlain, Christian Dior, and Givenchy brands may not be listed on eBay by unauthorised dealers, even if the item being offered is genuine: lawyers for both sides have said that this will even apply to individuals re-selling items they have received as gifts. The ban applies not only on eBay France, but on any site worldwide which is accessible from France.

The injunction takes place immediately, and failure to enforce it will be punished by daily fines of €50,000. A spokesperson for LVMH, who market all four brands, has previously said that “LVMH Group do not intend to hold off enforcing the injunction.”

Statement from eBay France

, informing French users that they

will no longer be able to buy and sell the perfumes and cosmetics of the brands cited above, not only on eBay France but on the other eBay national sites, until further notice.

14 Responses

  1. Wow. That is a serious headache for eBay.

    Have to feel sorry for the genuine sellers.

    There are so many implications, the mind boggles!

  2. Wonder if Ebay will limit access for French Ebayers to France only, otherwise there will be a lot of non French sellers upset

  3. How will they enforce this on .com or any US site?

    The Americans have a ‘first sale’ ruling eg. if you buy something you have a right to resell it.

    With all the legal cases stacking up against Ebay in France I can see Ebay pulling the plug on the French site.

    Will there be a posibility of the rulings finish up as EU law in future?

  4. I guess it’s not impossible to block keywords by geographic IP so that French users simply can’t see those particular brands.

    It’s a sad day for ecommerce in general though – someone being unable to sell an unwanted gift is ridiculous ๐Ÿ™

  5. Keith – no doubt we’ll see but there are a number of options available to eBay, some of those that spring to mind being:
    ~ ban all sales involving those brand names, internationally
    ~ stop French users (those on French IP addresses) from seeing anything involving those brand names
    ~ stop French users seeing anything outside France and ban those brand names within France
    ~ ban listings of those brand names if delivery is listed as available to France (iirc they have done something like this with unboxed cosmetics and Germany, though the details escape me right now)

    And of course, they will continue to appeal – this will go beyond France, to the European courts, I would be pretty certain.

  6. And there you go – French users are not allowed to buy and sell the brands. Quite how they’ll enforce the not buying rule, I’m not yet sure.

  7. The Times Online reporting on the original court decision indicated that the ban applies to all of eBay’s sites:

    The court said that eBay would be fined รขโ€šยฌ50,000 a day if it failed to stop its members from advertising the four perfume brands on its sites.

    It also reported:

    The auctioneer, which is based in San Jose, California, was told to post the ruling in French and English on all its sites for the next three weeks.


    I haven’t seen anything posted on the US site yet, but I suppose it could be buried in the depths somewhere.

  8. Even though eBay didn’t manage to get the injunction lifted there will still be an appeal of the main court decision at some point. This simply about some companies wanting to protect anti-competitive commercial practises limiting consumer choice and forcing them to pay top price for authentic goods.

    eBay is all about providing a great selection of products at competitive prices and this quite simply is designed to restrict buyers choices.

    I hope when eBay appeal the entire case they win, as the French courts have gone too far. If eBay lose then it opens the door for any and every manufacturer to control not only the first sale of their goods but every subsquent sale which is clearly bizaare.

    This is one fight eBay believes they should and will win, and every online trader out there should be backing them. It’s not about counterfiets, it’s about restriction of choice and four perfume brands is the thin edge of a very large wedge ๐Ÿ™

  9. hey! we’ve had the LV case suing eBay and now Tiffany & co and rightly so. Ebay are reponsible if counterfeit products are sold on their site like I would be if I allowed my customers to sell fake products privately on my website but this is absolutely pathetic and gone too far. Basically guerlain,givenchy,kenzi and dior can’t accept that we sell their products cheaper so they pursue the matter in high court saying they insist on ripping people off in parfumeries in france? And the high court says yes ok. This intervenes human rights and i say if i buy a receive something i don’t want i HAVE the right to re-sell wherever i damn like so come on eBay! Kick ass. I have sold perfume on eBay since 2006 and never had a negative note after 13000 sales of authentic perfumes. Now I have over 11,000 euros in stock I can no longer list ?? come on !! if it’s real I have the right to sell it so i’m gonna list it until eBay suspend me cos i’m breaking no laws here.

  10. and i’ll tell you something for nothing ! i am gonna sell these perfumes big time on my website now off ebay !! if ebay are not allowed to sell then i am perfectly entitled to tell customers to buy it off ebay! it’s a joke ! so come on powersellers add this to your feedback ” guerlain givenchy kenzo dior available at www. ” stop us !

  11. We feel your pain, Ritchie, but please don’t add your website URL to feedback you leave – that’s a great way to get eBay to remove it all and sanction you for breaching the links policy, I’m sorry to have to tell you.

  12. This ruling around, but not limited to, Selective Distribution and Vertical Restraints from a French Court would probably be confirmed by a European Court.

    The legal basis was covered by a EU Notice from October 2000 (EU Commission notice – Guidelines on Vertical Restraints).

    In a few words, in LVMH case, this means that they can :

    1. Impose selective distribution for their branded products (ie. restrict sales to pre-approved outlets only)

    2. Impose qualitative rules about those outlets location (like always on ground floor with direct street entrance, windows size, furniture-lighting-carpet color, uniforms and number of shop assistants per sqm, etc.)

    3. Impose product range, minimum inventory level, fixed retail prices and forbid discounts

    4. Forbid internet sales to their approved brick and mortar outlets


    Outlets not respecting those guidelines can lose their license to sell.

    So in other words, LVMH has the law on its side over here (France and EU) when it comes to choosing its retailers and blocking others, including on Ebay as an extension.

    Now the collateral damage on private seller wishing to resell his gift should be reconsidered, either in court or through settlement with Ebay (Second-Hand listings only ?)

    But when it comes to PowerSellers selling LVMH to Ebay EU users, I guess Ebay will just get nuked by LVMH legal team over and over from now on.



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