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Smack for Amazon (Judgement of the court (Grand Chamber) of December 22, 2022)

see JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber) of December 22, 2022

So far, Amazon has been able to claim that infringements of intellectual property rights committed on its platform are not attributable to it and that, if these are deleted after notification, Amazon is fulfilling its obligation.

The ECJ has now stated that Amazon will no longer be able to make it that simple and thus inflicted a bitter defeat on Amazon.

What had happened?

The French designer Louboutin, owner of the famous brand for red shoe soles has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, among other things, for a declaration of Amazon’s responsibility for trademark infringements committed on their marketplace.

However, there is a big difference in the Amazon case compared to other marketplace players, such as eBay.

Amazon bundles offers for one and the same category of goods. These offers originate both from Amazon itself and from third-party sellers.

The question was therefore asked whether this way of how Amazon’s sales platforms work suggests that the operator of these platforms is using a sign identical to the mark in question, because it incorporates ads from third-party sellers in which such a sign is used with its own commercial communications.

The court affirmed this; because the consumer assumes that the operator of such an online sales platform (Amazon), which mixes its and third-party offers, in the event of doubt uses the trademark itself.

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Dr Aliki Busse



Specialist Lawyer for Intellectual Property and copyright law