Amazon's display of competitor brands doesn't violate trademark, 9th Circuit says in reversal
Amazon.com doesn’t infringe trademark rights when it displays competing brands of wristwatches in response to a query for a brand it doesn’t carry, a federal appeals court has ruled.
The decision (PDF) on Wednesday by a panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses its earlier ruling, report the Recorder (sub. req.), Ars Technica and Courthouse News Service. How Appealing links to additional coverage.
The superseding decision by Judge Barry Silverman said there is no likelihood of confusion by the display of competing brands. “Amazon is responding to a customer’s inquiry about a brand it does not carry by doing no more than stating clearly (and showing pictures of) what brands it does carry,” he wrote. “Not only are the other brands clearly labeled and accompanied by photographs, there is no evidence of actual confusion by anyone.”
Amazon’s “search results page is unambiguous—not unlike when someone walks into a diner, asks for a Coke, and is told ‘No Coke. Pepsi,’ ” Silverman wrote.
The plaintiff is watchmaker Multi Time Machine. Its “special ops” watch is not carried by Amazon.