Recent Court Ruling Could Impact Search Strategies

Yesterday in Paris, a court tribunal ordered EBay to pay Louis Vuitton over $310,000 in legal costs and damages for using search terms that “misled consumers,” by driving consumers to the EBay website. The court also supported Louis Vuitton’s claim that EBay’s actions damaged the Louis Vuitton brand.

What I find most interesting about this case is that the terms EBay were bidding on were not “Louis Vuitton.” In fact, EBay bid on misspellings of the brand’s name; Specifically, EBay bid on the words, “Viton,” “Vitton,” and, “Wuiton.”

While I don’t condone online drafting of a brand’s competitors by using the competing companies’ names as a search terms, I am not 100% comfortable with this court decision. Where does one draw the line? What happened to Caveat Emptor? I am REALLY interested in hearing how others feel about this.

Please voice your opinions!


3 thoughts on “Recent Court Ruling Could Impact Search Strategies

  1. I’m with google on this one (surprise)
    This ruling is absurd. Just because you control the naming rights to a product, I don’t think that it should give you control of where people can buy it and for how much.

  2. I don’t know. I am with the courts on this one. eBay is buying someone’s brand name (even if it is misspelled). This reeks of typosquatting. eBay is trying to take advantage of consumers and confuse them to sell products on their site. I think this is especially key since eBay would probably defend itself saying that it isn’t responsible for the sale of fake Vuitton bags, it is the users. eBay shouldn’t facilitate it either.

    That being said, the damages were probably enhanced because Vuitton is a French company in a French court.

    Lastly, I would end my comment by saying, “The French.” Shakes head in <>.

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