The French Paradox: eBay defeats L'Oreal

The long-awaited decision in L'Oreal's French lawsuit against eBay has finally issued -- and, from L'Oreal's perspective, the wait wasn't worth it. 

Yes, that's right:  Although French courts had previously ruled in favor of plaintiffs Hermes and LVMH in similar cases against eBay regarding the online sale of counterfeits and unauthorized goods, this time plaintiff L'Oreal lost, despite the home court advantage.  That makes L'Oreal's record against eBay 0-2 (Belgium, France), with 2 verdicts pending (Germany, U.K.), and one trial date yet to be scheduled (Spain). 

So much for L'Oreal's attempt to shift responsibility for policing online auctions across the E.U. onto eBay's shoulders -- or at least to divide the national jurisdictions and conquer through subsequent harmonization.  Indeed, on a global scale, brand owners' attempts to create momentum in favor of third-party liability appear to have stalled, though Tiffany's appeal of last summer's verdict in favor of eBay in the U.S. is still in progress.

No doubt similarly situated cosmetic, fashion, and luxury goods companies will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the court-ordered mediation between L'Oreal and eBay in France.

Related post:  European Theatre of Operations:  Everyone v. eBay