Recently, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which covers the West Coast, reinstated a lawsuit that had been filed against Amazon over trademark infringement. The lawsuit was brought by the company that owned the trademark for “Special Ops” watches. The company claimed that Amazon was using the trademarked term in its website data so as to cause Amazon to be listed in search results for the term. The only problem with this is that Amazon does not sell the watches manufactured by the company who owns the trademark for “Special Ops” watches. Amazon, it is alleged, is using the trademark term to mislead consumers into coming to Amazon’s website where a bait and switch awaits them.
When the lawsuit was filed, the trial court dismissed it. However, the 9th Circuit determined that it is possible for a likelihood of confusion to occur as a result of Amazon’s conduct and, as a result, the case was sent back down to the trial court.
This is a good case to watch as you protect your intellectual property portfolio. Is Amazon doing this to you? Are your competitors?