Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been slapped in the face with a lawsuit filed by a watchmaker who claims that the online search results can lead to customer confusion.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled in favor of the watchmaker. The company claims that Amazon’s search results are confusing customers. The San Francisco courts gave a 2-1 opinion that gave the watch company, Multi Time Machine Inc., the right to take Amazon to trial based on its trademark accusations, thus overruling the lower court decision.
MTM claimed that the Amazon search results for “MTN Special Ops” showed similar watches with military style from other competing rivals. Also, the online retail firm did not clarify that it does not MTM products. The search results are thus programmed to be in the company’s favor whether the product is stocked or not. In this CASE, MTM does not stalk such products. Therefore, the website should have shown no results after the search.
In defense of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), the search results might have just shown alternative products that the users might like. Judge Barry Silverman supported this claim with a statement that the likelihood for regular Amazon shoppers to get confused by the source of the product is very low. Therefore, such search results would not mislead them.
Non-regular Amazon shoppers or those who are relatively new to the platform might be subject to the issue, however, that has not been clearly addressed. Amazon claims that it did not indicate that the watches shown in the results were made by MTM. The search results show watches from other companies, and this has been the major reason for the splitting of the judicial decisions.
The lawsuit against Amazon will return to the District Court in Los Angeles after the decision of the Federal appeals court. This case is not the first of its kind. Amazon previously faced a similar lawsuit from a cosmetics firm called Lush.