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LVMH, eBay bury hatchet after long-drawn counterfeit spat

The French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH and Internet auction site eBay on Thursday said they had reached an agreement to end a years-long legal battle over the sale of counterfeit goods.

PARIS: The French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH and Internet auction site eBay on Thursday said they had reached an agreement to end a years-long legal battle over the sale of counterfeit goods.

A cryptic joint statement gave no details of the deal but simply said it was aimed "at protecting intellectual property rights and fighting the sale of counterfeits online."

The agreement meant that "the two firms have put an end to ongoing legal proceedings," it added.

A host of perfume and cosmetic brands under the LVMH umbrella, including Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain, had sued eBay for allegedly allowing online trade in counterfeits.

In 2008, a French court ordered eBay to pay nearly 40 million euros ($54 million) in damages to LVMH for selling Vuitton and Dior fakes as well as counterfeit Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Kenzo perfumes.

The auctioneer appealed but in September 2010, another court confirmed the sentence, while lowering the fine to 5.7 million euros.

France's highest appeals court partially overturned that ruling in 2012 however.

The Cassation Court said the lower court that had issued the sentence did not have jurisdiction over eBay's US website but only on its French and British sites, and ordered the case be rejudged.

According to the Comite Colbert, which groups 75 French luxury brands, the sale of counterfeits represents a loss in earnings equivalent to about 10 per cent of the companies' total turnover.

Many online distribution platforms have signed a charter launched in 2009 that pledges to fight against counterfeits, but eBay has not yet done so.

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