The French National Gendarmerie has launched a massive operation yesterday, November 04, in all the point of sales of perfumery chain Equivalenza. The operation occurred in the course of an investigation initiated after a complaint filed by the French Federation of beauty companies (FEBEA) last July. Police forces were deployed simultaneously in the retailer’s 28 shops and corners in France.

Equivalenza, which was established only three years ago in Spain, recorded a rapid expansion by focusing on a franchise retail concept and a range of perfumes at very attractive prices. The company now has about 650 stores spread across twenty countries over the world. Equivalenza opened its first shops in France at the beginning of the year, with the ambition to profoundly change the perfumery market. The retailer counts 28 point of sales in France and was aiming a total of 40 shops by the end of 2014.

FEBEA, the professional organization that represents the fragrance industry in France, is accusing Equivalenza to use of an illegal method of selling perfumes called "concordance tables." This practice, which should not be confused with comparative advertising, consists in "selling a perfume that bears a standard name, or only a number, while presenting it as the equivalent of a famous fragrance."

French manufacturers of perfumes, systematically press charges against these kind of business practices, recently obtained the conviction of the Pin corporation, who is managing the web site and e-shop, on the grounds that “word marks in the comparative lists published are not used for purely descriptive purposes, but for advertising purposes”, thus enabling the company to “unduly take advantage” of the brands’ notoriety without having to make any significant marketing investment.

"It is necessary to fight against all types of counterfeiting to preserve our heritage and our know-how, and thus to stop the practices that destroy jobs in France and damage the reputation of our businesses," said Patrick O’Quin, President of the FEBEA.