Summer's hottest trend is here! No, it's not gladiator sandals or splashes of superhero-worthy primary color -- it's lawsuits claiming 3rd-party liability for copyright and trademark infringement.
Today a French court ordered eBay to pay Hermes 20,000 euros after the internet auction site allowed a user to sell 3 Hermes handbags, 2 of which turned out to be counterfeit. The court's decision is also supposed to appear on eBay's French homepage, but no sign of it yet. The site does have an extensive anti-counterfeiting page, though. (Thanks to Counterfeit Chic reader Deb Mason for the tip!)
The ruling in favor of Hermes could be just the tip of the iceberg for eBay's French operations. 20,000 euros may cover a couple of basic Birkins, but, in a separate pending case against eBay, luxury giant LVMH has demanded damages of €20 million. According to Le Monde, a decision is due by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, the U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a 9th Circuit decision in Perfect 10 v. Visa, absolving the credit card company of liability for facilitating sales of infringing goods. As WWD's Liza Casabona notes, however, questions of contributory and vicarious liability will continue to occupy the legal landscape, with a decision in Tiffany v. eBay still undecided. (Thanks for the quote, Liza!)
Seems that the lawyers pursuing 3rd-party liability claims on behalf of their fashion clients have come up with not only a legal strategy, but a lifestyle mantra: After the law shows up at one party, move on to the next. Not a bad way to spend a hot summer night.