Louboutin/Amazon dispute: Why the European justice opens the way to a responsibility of marketplaces in ads for counterfeit products?
The Court of Justice of the European Union has been asked to rule on a dispute between U.S. online retailer Amazon and French shoe giant Louboutin. On Thursday, the court paved the way for platforms to be held liable for the sale of counterfeits, ruling that Amazon could be considered to be advertising fake Louboutin products sold on its site by third parties.
On Amazon, one can find models almost identical to the shoes with the red sole at prices ten times lower. Faced with these practices deemed unfair by the French brand, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), seized of this case between the French company and the American giant, has opened the way to a responsibility of Amazon in advertising and selling counterfeit products.
Today, the CJEU considers that Amazon could be considered as promoting counterfeit Louboutin products sold on its website by a third party seller. Indeed, according to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which expressed itself in a press release: “the user of its site has the impression that it is Amazon which markets, in its name and on its behalf, pumps of the brand“.
Hoffman, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property, explains that until now, the case law considered that Amazon had only a role of host, and as such, was not responsible for the products that were put on sale on its platform: “the marketplace was therefore responsible for its own products branded Amazon, but not for the products put on sale on its platform by third parties. Until now, it was therefore up to the brands themselves to be vigilant“.
The CJEU does not decide anything for the moment
The House of Louboutin, created by Christian Louboutin, known for its red-soled pumps, had filed two appeals against Amazon, in Luxembourg and Belgium. However, the CJEU does not decide the dispute. Indeed, it is up to the national court to resolve the case in accordance with the court’s decision.
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