eBay fined €1.7m in ongoing battle with LVMH

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Louis Vuitton- LVMH- & eBay sure are playing a game of back and forth in French Courts over the past few years.  eBay been taking a beating.  It’s now been sanctioned to the amount of €1.7m for allowing the sale of over 1000 unauthorized (but authentic) LVMH purfumes & cosmetics on the site.  They’re saying that eBay breached an injunction set in place in June of 2008,  barring eBay from allowing the posting of perfumes or cosmetics in LVMH brands (LV, Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy, and Guerlain).

In response to today’s eBay’s general manager in France, Alex von Schirmeister said,

“Today’s outcome hurts consumers by preventing them from buying and selling authentic items online. The injunction is an abuse of ‘selective distribution.’ It effectively enforces restrictive distribution contracts, which is anti-competitive. We believe that the higher courts will overturn this ruling and ensure that eCommerce companies such as eBay will continue to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to trade authentic goods… The fine itself is disproportionate given that eBay complied with the Injunction. It is out of step with our legal victories in France, UK, Germany, Belgium and the U.S.”

I attalicized the highlighted parts in that quote myself- because they’re just dead on.  I’m all for very agressive measures in doing whatever it takes to remove fakes from any an all online marketplaces (and off).  What I am totally against- are measures that are put in place that restrict the freedoms that individual owners have to do what they will with their own personal property.

I mean, if someone wants to throw a bottle of perfectly good Dior perfume that they bought themselves in the fireplace (not smart by the way)- so be it.  If they want to give it to their sister, or throw it in the bin, or pour it down the drain- or sell it on eBay- they should have that right.  Any decision that limits our ability to make those decisions- is limiting a fundemanetal personal property right.

Not only that- but the ability that we have to resell our property facilitates the inherent value of that piece.  One of the reasons that your new Mercedes, or Tiffany ring, or Breitling watch  keeps its value so well- is that the brand and quality are internationally recognizable- and resellable.  You can at any time, recoup much of your investment.  Luxury manufacturers who attempt to limit the resale potential for legitimate owners is just not smart.

What do you think???

Read more about it in the Wall Street Journal

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