BEAUTY CARE

L’Oreal sues eBay over counterfeit fragrance auctions

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARIS L’Oreal is taking legal action against eBay in five European countries, alleging that the online auctioneer is not doing enough to pull the plug on the sale of counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes through its Web site.

The legal proceedings were launched against eBay in France, Germany, Britain, Belgium and Spain.

“L’Oreal has been facing an increasing volume of illicit trade in fake fragrances and fake cosmetic products on some online auction sites. These sites also feature luxury products for sale in significant quantities by unauthorized dealers, including products without outer packaging or leaflets containing health and safety information such as ingredients lists and precautionary warnings,” L’Oreal stated. “Consequently, L’Oreal has decided to take legal action to protect the consumers, preserve the quality of its selective luxury distribution network and defend the reputation of its trademarks.”

In a prepared statement, an eBay spokesperson said, “We are disappointed L’Oreal has filed a lawsuit against eBay, given that we have been actively supporting their brand protection efforts. As a responsible company that works with more than 18,000 rights owners, we will continue to act on their reports. We regret that we find ourselves caught in the cross-fire between L’Oreal and a small number of individuals who are alleged to have infringed L’Oreal’s trade marks. We do not wish or intend to take sides, but we will fight the legal action because we believe L’Oreal’s claims against eBay are without merit.”

The action by L’Oreal follows similar action taken against eBay by such companies as luxury groups LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the French conglomerate PPR. 

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Fashion Fair names Anne Sempowski Ward president and CEO

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO Former Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola executive Anne Sempowski Ward has been named president and chief operating officer of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a cosmetic and skin care company for women of color.

In Ward’s newly created role, which will be effective Oct. 1, she will lead all aspects of sales, product development, supply chain and marketing. She also will create and oversee all business development strategies and implement initiatives to strengthen brand equity.

Previously, Ward was assistant vice president of African-American marketing for Coca-Cola. In that role, Ward was responsible for implementing all business development strategies and programs to build market share with African-American consumers across all major brands, including Coke, Sprite, Powerade, Dasani and Minute Maid. Before that, Ward spent more than a decade at P&G, where she led several brands and categories, including hair care, Tampax, Always and Pampers.

She is perhaps best known for launching significant African-American marketing strategies and programs within both Fortune 500 companies. She also created the “Total You” beauty platform across P&G’s largest beauty brands. 

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Body Shop founder passes at 64

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, who used her cosmetics company to help communicate human rights and environmental issues, died Monday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. She was 64.

According to published reports, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown led tributes to Roddick on Tuesday, describing her as a “true pioneer.”

Roddick, who died in a hospital in Chichester with her family at her bedside, had revealed in February that she contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion while giving birth to a daughter in 1971.

Roddick revealed the news after becoming the patron of a British charity Hepatitis C Trust. While she had been carrying the disease for more than three decades, it wasn’t detected until two years after a blood test.

According to reports, it wasn’t immediately known whether there was a link between the brain hemorrhage and the disease.

Roddick founded The Body Shop in 1976, selling natural-based beauty products. “It wasn’t only economic necessity that inspired the birth of The Body Shop. My early travels had given me a wealth of experience. I had spent time in farming and fishing communities with pre-industrial people, and had been exposed to body rituals of women from all over the world,” wrote Roddick in a message posted on the company’s Web site. “Why waste a container when you can refill it? And why buy more of something that you can use?”

It was ideas such as these that became the foundation of the company’s environmental activism.

Over the years, Roddick saw the company grow into a cosmetics brand with 2,000-plus retail outlets in more than 50 countries. Last year, L’Oreal acquired the company.

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