The cosmetics giant L’Oreal has failed in its trade mark infringement action against eBay in France in respect of the sale on eBay of counterfeit L’Oreal products. L’Oreal contended that eBay’s software bids on behalf of buyers, handles payments and ensures the delivery of goods making it not merely a venue or means through which sales are conducted but an actual participant in its customers’ sales. L’Oreal had claimed 3.5 million euros in compensation for losses caused to its distribution systems.  

The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris found that eBay had acted in good faith in establishing means to fight counterfeits. It employed a team of 2000 people and had a budget of US$10million per annum to fight online crime. In the circumstances, the judge was satisfied that eBay had met its legal obligations to combat fake products. The trade mark infringement action failed.