French government targets sales of counterfeits on the internet

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Law

The French government has launched an initiative to help fight the sale of counterfeit goods over the internet.

France’s secretary of state for consumer affairs and industry Luc Chatel is hoping to reinforce cooperation between e-commerce sites and brand owners.

The plan has been given to Bernard Brochand, the president of the French anti-counterfeit committee (CNAC) to administer, along with a specialist in intellectual property law Pierre Sirinelli.

Primarily, the initiative will define the type of cooperation and methods that need to be put into place to effectively fight against sales of counterfeit goods over the internet, and the conclusions are to be published by the end of the summer 2009.

According to Chatel, the sale of counterfeit goods over the internet has gone up considerably and the country needs concentrated measures to put a stop to the practices as quickly as possible, without holding back internet trade in general.

Cooperation to replace law suits?

Internet sales of counterfeits have long been a problem for the cosmetics and fragrance sectors and the recourse is often legal battles, rather than cooperation, between brand owners and the e-commerce sites.

France-based cosmetics giant L’Oreal claims that up to 60 percent of its luxury brand fragrances sold on eBay are fakes.

The company is currently in a legal battle with the e-commerce site in a number of European countries, and the decision of the French courts is expected in the next month.

Back in August last year, Belgian courts dismissed L’Oreal’s claims that the website wasn’t doing enough to stop sales of fakes; a ruling L’Oreal said it would appeal against.

The company stated ‘utmost surprise’ at the ruling, saying it did not agree with the recent interpretation of the European Commission’s eCommerce directive.

In contrast to the judgement in the Belgium case, last year saw two wins for companies accusing eBay of not doing enough to fight against fakes.

In July, the internet auction site was ordered to pay €38m to LVMH for the sales of fake bags, clothes and perfumes, and in June Hermès was awarded €20,000 in damages.

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