Klein & Wilson

Amazon facing lawsuit over search results

A California court will hear a trademark infringement lawsuit that was filed against Amazon by a watch manufacturer that does not sell its products through the online shopping website. Multi Time Machine, a company that produces military-style timepieces, takes issue with the way that Amazon displays search results when consumers search for MTM products on Amazon.

The trademark infringement lawsuit involves the way that Amazon allegedly confuses customers who are looking for MTM products on its website. MTM says that when consumers search for MTM watches on Amazon, they are provided with a list of competitor's watches rather than a message informing them that Amazon does not carry MTM watches. According to MTM, these search results could cause customers to purchase watches from other manufacturers rather than continue to look for MTM watches.

When MTM filed its suit against Amazon in 2011, a federal court in Los Angeles ruled in favor of the defendant. However, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the lower court's decision in a 2-1 vote. The appellate court said that MTM is entitled to sue for trademark infringement since Amazon does not mention that it doesn't carry MTM watches.

After a company secures a trademark, the mark may need to be actively enforced through litigation. An intellectual property attorney may be able to help a company to obtain trademarks and protect them from infringement by bringing an action against the infringing party.

Source: Tech Times, "Amazon To Go On Trial For Trademark Infringement Due To Confusing Search Results," Alexandra Burlacu, July 8, 2015

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