Amazon should test for commerce mark violations: EU court docket adviser

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BRUSSELS (Information) – U.S. on-line retail big Amazon will not be accountable for unwittingly stocking commerce mark infringing items for third-party sellers, however must be diligent in checking whether or not merchandise are authorized, an adviser to Europe’s high court docket mentioned on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: The brand of Amazon is seen on the firm logistics centre in Boves, France, August eight, 2018. Information/Pascal Rossignol/File Picture

The adviser was giving his opinion on a case that pits Amazon towards U.S. cosmetics firm Coty.

The dispute is among the many battles between luxurious items firms looking for to protect their exclusivity and branding and on-line platforms akin to Amazon and eBay preventing towards on-line gross sales curbs.

It additionally raises the query of the scope of on-line platforms’ accountability for merchandise bought, or content material transmitted, on their websites.

The opinion from Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, advocate basic on the Courtroom of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), got here in a case involving Coty’s German subsidiary, which took Amazon to a German court docket for stocking Coty’s Davidoff fragrance for third celebration sellers.

Coty mentioned such practices violate its commerce mark rights and that Amazon must be accountable for stocking commerce mark infringing items. The German court docket subsequently sought steerage from the CJEU.

Corporations which aren’t conscious of commerce mark infringements can’t be held liable for storing such merchandise for third celebration sellers, Campos Sanchez-Bordona mentioned.

Nevertheless, if they’re actively concerned in distributing the products and in the event that they function a scheme like Amazon’s, then they need to present diligence in checking the legality of products bought on their platforms, he mentioned.

Beneath a scheme referred to as “Fulfilled by Amazon”, the U.S. on-line retail big shops and delivers items for third-party sellers, one of many key options of its enterprise mannequin.

Corporations can’t merely absolve themselves of accountability and must be conscious that with out this management, they will function a channel for the sale of unlawful, counterfeit, stolen or unethical merchandise, Campos Sanchez-Bordona mentioned.

Amazon mentioned it took steps to fight unlawful merchandise on its platform.

“Amazon continues to speculate closely in preventing unhealthy actors on our retailer and is dedicated to driving counterfeits to zero. Courts have dominated in our favor within the first two cases of this continuing, and we are actually awaiting preliminary authorized clarification from the CJEU,” the corporate mentioned.

The Luxembourg-based court docket, which follows such non-binding suggestions within the majority of instances, would usually give a ruling within the subsequent two to 4 months.

Coty didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The case is C-567/18 Coty Germany.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Modifying by Philip Blenkinsop and Mark Potter