July 5, 2019
Online retail giant Amazon’s preliminary challenge to a lawsuit brought by home ware retail chain Williams-Sonoma has failed. The lawsuit accuses Amazon of misleading customers into thinking it was an authorized re-seller of Williams-Sonoma's products.
The lawsuit came in protest of a section of the Amazon website that displayed hundreds of products, allegedly without making it clear they weren’t directly supplied by Williams-Sonoma. Amazon tried to argue the lawsuit should be dismissed as it was doing nothing but providing a platform where legitimately purchased Williams-Sonoma goods could be re-sold.
San Francisco magistrate judge Elizabeth Laporte did not accept the argument, and held that Williams-Sonoma had made a strong enough argument to proceed with the case, holding: “on balance the allegations raise the plausible inference that Amazon is not merely reselling Williams-Sonoma products, but is instead cultivating the incorrect impression that these sales on Amazon.com are authorized by Williams-Sonoma and that a reasonably prudent consumer is likely to be confused.”
Authors: Sarah Stothart and Yonca Umur