#56 Pardonnez-moi, eBay

eBay has been in several ruffles with french luxury goods maker LVHM. Recently, LVHM, that holds the rights to such well-known brands as Hennessy, Kenzo, Givenchy, Dior Perfumes, or Tag Heuer, has sued eBay over misuse of its Louis Vuitton brand. As its customers frequently misspell Vuitton, eBay has purchased keywords from search engines such as ‘Viton’, ‘Vitton’ or ‘Wuiton’ in order to channel web traffic to¬†listings of the prestigious maker of leather goods products on its own website. Compared to earlier judicial awards LVHM won against eBay, the current one of US$ 316,500 is negligable. In 2008, it was fined 39.9 million Euros for the sale of counterfeit LVHM goods on its platform and in late 2009 it received another hefty 1.7 million Euro ¬†slap on the wrist for continuing to allow the resale of authentic LVHM perfumes on its website. With net revenues in excess of US$ 2 billion in 2009, eBay will probably be able to take the most recent blow as well. As the fight between French brands and the California-based auctioneer has long outgrown its pure business and legal nature, but has become one between two cultures, it has not hard to predict that it will continue into the future.

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