Thursday

BOY ARE THE FRENCH GOING TO GET NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FROM EBAY OVER THIS!!

Ah the French- they fight with their feet and..... well never mind. In yet another example of how the French are simply different, a French Court has ordered eBay to pay $61 million dollars to the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. In the US another luxury goods manufacturer, Tiffany, has also filed suit against eBay.
Since I have predicted that Tiffany's will lose its case against eBay I note the French decision with more than a modicum of interest. Tiffany and LMVH complain that just by being in business eBay helps in the sale of thousands of knock off or counterfeit items. The luxury perfumier Givenchy also complained that even though its perfumes sold on eBay were legitimate, such sales were improper because they were outside the authorized distribution channels established by Givenchy.
In a sense the French decision was consistent with past decisions. French courts have already told eBay that it cannot allow sellers to offer Nazi paraphernalia to French citizens. But in a battle of old Europe against the new world economic order the French cannot long prevail.
I suspect that eBay will have much better results in the US courts. Why? Because they are making real efforts to stop counterfeit goods. And, in the end, eBay is nothing more than a conduit for such goods. There have always been channels for bogus knock offs. Especially when the cost of making such goods is pennies and they are sold for many, many, dollars. Almost pure profit.
As for the claims by Givenchy that it should be able to have absolute control over the distribution of its products. That is simply a non-starter in the US. Not that our companies haven't tried! But consumers benefit by getting goods at lower prices. And the manufacturers are not hurt since they have already made a sale.
When legal rules become an impediment to genuine economic or social change, those rules will be altered. Perhaps it will take the efforts of M Sarkozy to bring the French into the 21st century.

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