DALLAS, Jul 8, 2008 / FW/ — Last week, as the news that a French judge ordered eBay to pay Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturer LVMH $61 million in damages reverberated on the news waves, the implications and effect of this ruling is more than just the fines being levied on eBay.
The legal ramifications have been discussed to such an extent that even ‘fake photos of celebrities holding a Louis Vuitton bag’ had entered the arena. As for eBay’s official response, the company posted a letter in its UK website that detailed its fight against counterfeits.
In terms of fashion, what does it really mean?
For starters, it is now easier to understand why the Louis Vuitton menswear collection presented last month in Paris looks like a cut from Banana Republic. For the company, it is the handbags. The clothes are just supporting roles. In short, don’t expect anything innovative from Louis Vuitton when it comes to clothing, but expect the best and brightest when it comes to accessories.
Looks do matter. As Op-Ed articles pour in, it is easy to see that LVMH won the PR war on this one. Why? Because, Bernard Arnault is truly one of the best dressed billionaires on the planet and when he makes an appearance, people listen. As for eBay, quite frankly, I don’t even have an idea how its CEO dresses.
As a private individual, can I still sell my ‘old’ Louis Vuitton bag or sell ‘unwanted Christmas and birthday gifts’ on eBay if they are genuine perfumes that are owned by LVMH?
With this legal ruling, I don’t know! Everyday people receive unwanted gifts during birthdays and holidays. Perfumes are a great example of ‘unwanted gifts’ simply because scents are so personal. It is not about the brand but the smell and how it makes you feel.
So, every birthday and Christmas, thousands of people receive gifts that just “stay” in their cabinet, i.e., until eBay came around and people found a place of finding better homes for them without making the gift giver feel bad.
Or, what if, I don’t want my old Louis Vuitton bag anymore and there is no more space in my closet. It’s genuine Louis Vuitton. Can I still sell it on eBay? Will I be accused of not being an authorized distributor?
These are extreme scenarios, but landmark court rulings have a way of going to the extreme just to make a point.