Vexed vexillologists: New battleground on Amazon listings (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 6)
13 October 2017
The UK’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court recently found in favour of a brand whose Amazon listing had been high-jacked by a competitor. In very simple terms, manufacturers can create listings for their products on Amazon. Third parties can then add themselves to those listings, and whoever offers the cheapest price is automatically presented as the seller.
In this case, Jadebay created a listing for its product, which was a flagpole. The listing bore Jadebay’s trade mark but anyone selling the product was allowed to bid to be the seller. The defendant, Feel Good, started selling its competing product using Jadebay’s listing. The court found that Feel Good had infringed Jadebay’s trade mark and passed its goods off as those of Jadebay. Feel Good was ordered to stop doing this, and also made to pay around £25,000 in damages plus legal costs.
We do not find this decision particularly surprising. Feel Good was selling directly competing goods under Jadebay’s listing, which contained its name and a similar sign to its trade mark. Customers would understandably be confused to receive a product that was not from Jadebay. However, it shows that the ways to market are constantly evolving for brands, and as a result, intellectual property infringements are occurring in ever more varied circumstances. Brands need to, with the help of their legal teams, keep on top of these new sales channels.