In a lawsuit filed in a Paris court last September, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA has launched a legal attack on the world’s biggest online auction site, claiming that eBay Inc. has not done enough to stop the sales of counterfeit goods through its Internet marketplace. LVMH’s suit is part of a worldwide effort to crack down on counterfeiting. But France makes an especially appealing venue for the suit, not just because LVMH is a French company, but because of France’s tough anti-counterfeiting laws.

As reported in Le Monde on September 21, the suit accuses the San Jose, Calif.-based company of failing to police the goods for sale in the auctions hosted by the site. Christian Dior Couture and Louis Vuitton, two high-profile brands owned by Paris-based LVMH and its parent Christian Dior SA, are suing both eBay’s U.S. parent, eBay Inc., and a Swiss unit of the company, eBay AG, in the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris, the French commercial court, seeking damages of about $40 million. Central to the case, say both U.S. and French lawyers, is the question of who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that counterfeit goods do not come up for sale.

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