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!