March 01, 2013

FaegreBD Secures Trademark Infringement Win for Amazon

On February 20, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion for summary judgment dismissing a trademark infringement case against Faegre Baker Daniels LLP client Amazon.com. Marc Levy and Katie Feiereisel led the firm's representation of Amazon.

The case challenged the manner in which Amazon responds to user search queries on its website. FaegreBD successfully assisted Amazon in two similar cases in the past, so Amazon again turned to the firm to defend a fundamental principle of its business model: the right to display relevant search results in response to user search queries. In this case, the plaintiff, watch company Multi Time Machine, which does not distribute through Amazon, was unhappy that Amazon consumers searching for its watch brand, "MTM Special Ops," were shown search results containing alternative competing military-style watch brands. 

Multi Time Machine called this passing off, but after reviewing evidence provided by FaegreBD attorneys that Amazon's watch listings were all clearly labeled and Amazon's consumers are not confused into thinking that the competing watches shown were "MTM Special Ops" watches, the court disagreed, ruling that there was no triable issue of fact on likelihood of confusion.

Other coverage of this case, which is significant in terms of impact on both online retailers and online consumers, includes a Forbes.com article by Professor Eric Goldman and a blog post by Professor Rebecca Tushnet, two prominent figures in intellectual property law.  

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