A turning point in the fight against counterfeiting

In the lawsuit between the GAFA giant Amazon and the luxury shoe brand Louboutin, the decision seems to be in favour of the latter. A few days ago, the famous shoe brand announced that the Court of Justice of the European Union considered Amazon to be potentially responsible for the sale of counterfeit products, either distributed directly by the delivery giant or sold on its platform by third parties.

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto30 décembre 2022

Web platforms are largely responsible for counterfeiting problems (Shutterstock)

In 2021, the French brand took Amazon to court in Belgium and Luxembourg. Since then, this dispute between Louboutin and the American multinational has raised awareness of the potential liability of platforms in terms of advertising and selling counterfeit products, and marks a turning point in the fight against the issue of counterfeit luxury goods.

Indeed, even if the European Court of Justice cannot issue a final judgement on the case by deciding the dispute, as this task is left to national courts, it can nevertheless encourage countries to increase the responsibility of web platforms.

According to a study conducted in France by Unifab (Union des fabricants), it is estimated that counterfeiting is responsible for 6.7 billion in lost sales and 38,000 lost jobs each year, due to the funds that companies (up to 10% of turnover) spend on protecting intellectual property. The tax department would also be penalised, with a net loss of €10 billion.

Web platforms are largely responsible for this damage, and the increase in online sales since the pandemic should push the major players to invest more. Amazon, in particular, seems to be playing a double game. On the one hand, the company is investing an additional $200 million a year ($900 million in 2021) to eliminate a large proportion of counterfeit products from the sales site - by removing 3 million suspect products and blocking 2.5 million opaque online seller accounts - and on the other hand, it is putting its logo on all ads, including those proposed by third-party merchants, whose products are not always checked for legality.

The case between Louboutin and Amazon has the merit of informing online shoppers about the potential dangers of counterfeiting.

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