Amazon has lost an infringement case after the High Court ruled that the online retailer breached the copyright of cosmetics company Lush by attempting to divert customers to similar products through online search results.
Lush does not stock products on Amazon and it launched the claim in response to the online retailer using search adverts to target people searching for the Lush brand online and instead divert them towards similar products stocked by Amazon.
The High Court ruled that the average consumer would generally be unable to ascertain that the products listed in Amazon’s online search results were not made by Lush.
Karl Bygrave, director of regulatory affairs at Lush, said: “We believe strongly in Intellectual Property and protecting it is of prime importance to us as we grow our brand around the world. We work hard to maintain our ethical integrity in all aspects of our business. This case has been of primary strategic importance for us.”
Simon Chapman, partner Lewis Silkin LLP, which represented Lush in the case, added: “Today’s judgment provides much needed clarity with regards exactly how far third parties can go in their use of trade marks to generate sponsored advertisements or direct web-traffic for commercial gain unrelated to the trademark owner.
“There is no doubt that many online retailers will need to reconsider their approach with regards the promotion of and marketing activity in support of alternative products to ensure they do not fall foul of today’s important precedent”
The ruling follows a case last year when Interflora successfully sued Marks & Spencer under similar circumstances for trademark infringement.