EBay fined by Paris court over LVMH sales

A photograph of a computer screen showing the website eBay is shown here in Encinitas, California April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A French court fined eBay Inc 1.7 million euros ($2.6 million) for violating a 2008 injunction that prevents French users of the online auction site from buying or selling LVMH perfumes and cosmetics on any eBay website.

EBay Inc said on Monday that the Commercial Court of Paris’ fine was too high and that the injunction blocking French eBay users from buying or selling LVMH cosmetics, including Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Kenzo perfumes, hurts consumers.

“The injunction is an abuse of ‘selective distribution,’” Alex von Schirmeister, general manager of eBay in France, said in a statement. “It effectively enforces restrictive distribution contracts, which is anti-competitive.”

“We believe that the higher courts will overturn this ruling,” he added.

EBay complied with the injunction and the fine is out of step with the company’s legal victories in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and the United States, von Schirmeister said.

In June 2008, the Paris court ruled eBay should pay more than 35 million euros in damages over the sale of counterfeit LVMH items on its sites and ordered an injunction to block sales of genuine perfumes from the brands Christian Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy and Guerlain. EBay has appealed the rulings.

(1 euro = $1.50)

Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Derek Caney