An adviser to Europe’s top court has recently said that Amazon, the US online retail giant is not liable for unconsciously stocking products causing Trademark Infringement for third-party sellers, but should be careful in checking whether the products are legal or not.
The adviser gave his opinion on a case pitting Amazon against the US cosmetics firm Coty. The dispute reflects one of the many battles amid online platforms like Amazon, eBay, etc., fighting against online business barriers and luxury products firms seeking to preserve their branding and exclusivity. The opinion from Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, the advocate general at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), came in response to a case concerning Coty’s German subsidiary. It is the subsidiary that took Amazon to a German court for stocking its Davidoff perfume for third-party sellers.
Coty said that such practices infringe on its trademark rights, and Amazon should be responsible for stocking trademark infringing products.
Campos Sanchez-Bordona said that the companies, which are unaware of trademark infringements, cannot be held liable for storing such products for third-party sellers. He also raises the question of the online platforms’ responsibility for the content transmitted or products sold on their sites. He even said that if the firms actively participate in disseminating the products and operate schemes like Amazon’s, then they must show diligence in checking the legality of products advertised or sold on their platforms.
The US online retail giant under its scheme known as “Fulfilled by Amazon” stores and delivers products for third-party sellers and this is one of the main features of its whole business model.
Campos Sanchez-Bordona continued by saying that the companies should be aware that they cannot absolve themselves of responsibility. They must understand that without this control, their platforms can serve as a channel for advertisement and sale of counterfeit, stolen, illegal, or unethical products.
Amazon, in regards to this, said that it made efforts to combat fake products on its platform. The company added that they continuously invest heavily in battling against bad actors and are committed to turning counterfeits to zero on their platform. Moreover, courts have ruled in their favor in the first two instances of this action, and they are now expecting preliminary legal clarification from the CJEU.
Nonetheless, Coty did not immediately respond to the request, but the Luxembourg-based court, which looks in the majority of cases related to such non-binding recommendations, would normally provide a verdict in the next two to four months. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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