Amazon to Face Fresh Lawsuit over Search Results
A federal appeals court has ruled that Amazon Incorporation must face a trademark lawsuit filed by a watchmaker claiming that the retailer’s search results can potentially confuse customers. The Monday 2-1 opinion ruling from the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court ruling. In the new twist, the court pointed out that the luxury watch-maker; Multi Time Machine Inc. is entitled to a trial on the allegations over its trademark.
At the time of this publication, no Amazon representative could be reached for comment.
According to the court ruling, MTM Special Ops are watches that are designed in military style and not sold on Amazon’s online store. However, if an Amazon shopper searches for the watch, the site does not say that it does not stock the products. Instead, the website will display MTM Special Ops watches in the search field and immediately tilts down to other similar watch brands competing with MTM’s products.
According to the lawsuit filed by MTM, this could allegedly cause clients to purchase from those competitors, instead of encouraging buyers to find MTM Special Ops from other sites. Initially, MTM had sued Amazon on trademark claims at a Los Angeles federal court whereby the judge ruled in favor of Amazon. This resolution was arrived at even before trial.
In the Monday ruling, the 9th Circuit ruled that the case filed by MTM should be allowed to proceed. The court wrote, ‘’we think a jury could find that Amazon has created loopholes for confusion.’’ The 9th Circuit Judge Barry Silverman pointed out in a dissent that the search results page on Amazon’s website clearly indicates the manufacturer of every watch it displays.
The judge wrote, ‘’no prudent customer who is reasonable enough and used to online shopping would likely be faced with confusion on the source of the products.’’
Eric Levinrad, MTM attorney said on Monday that unlike other online retailers, Amazon does not give clients a message that they do not sell particular products.