French Supreme Court, 3 May 2012
eBay Inc., eBay International / LVMH, Parfums Christian Dior
The Commercial Chamber of the French Supreme Court (“Cour de Cassation"), in three decisions rendered on the same day, ruled that “the eBay companies did not carry out a mere hosting activity but played, irrespective of any option taken by the sellers, an active role that gave them the knowledge of or control over the data that they stock, which does not allow them to benefit from the limitation of liability system provided by section 6.1.2 of the 21 June 2004 Act and section 14 § 1 of the 2000/31 directive".
Indeed, the Supreme Court considers that eBay has an active role in its online marketplace, since it uses optimisation means for the transactions that it puts at the disposal of the sellers, sends unsolicited messages to the buyers to invite them to buy, and sends invitations to the unsuccessful bidders for them to participate in other offers.
EBay is therefore likely to be held liable for the infringements that take place on its Internet site because of its active role which gives it the knowledge of and control over the unlawful selling offers that it stocks.
Read the decision: http://www.legalis.net/spip.php?page=jurisprudence-decision&id_article=3398