US on-line retail big Amazon isn’t chargeable for unwittingly stocking trademark infringing items for third-party sellers, however must be diligent in checking whether or not merchandise are authorized, an adviser to Europe’s prime court docket mentioned on Thursday. The adviser was giving his opinion on a case that pits Amazon towards US cosmetics firm Coty. The dispute is without doubt one of the many battles between luxurious items firms in search of to protect their exclusivity and branding and on-line platforms corresponding to Amazon and eBay combating towards on-line gross sales curbs.
It additionally raises the query of the scope of on-line platforms’ accountability for merchandise offered, or content material transmitted, on their websites.
The opinion from Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, advocate common on the Court 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 get together sellers.
Coty mentioned such practices violate its commerce mark rights and that Amazon must be chargeable for stocking commerce mark infringing items. The German court docket subsequently sought steering from the CJEU.
Companies which aren’t conscious of commerce mark infringements can’t be held liable for storing such merchandise for third get together sellers, Campos Sanchez-Bordona mentioned.
However, 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 offered on their platforms, he mentioned.
Under a scheme referred to as “Fulfilled by Amazon”, the US on-line retail big shops and delivers items for third-party sellers, one of many key options of its enterprise mannequin.
Companies can’t merely absolve themselves of accountability and must be conscious that with out this management, they’ll 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 invest heavily in fighting bad actors on our store and is committed to driving counterfeits to zero. Courts have ruled in our favour in the first two instances of this proceeding, and we are now awaiting preliminary legal 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.