Amazon.com failed to dodge a lawsuit that accused it of trying to trick shoppers into thinking it was an authorized reseller of Williams-Sonoma products.
Williams-Sonoma filed the trademark-infringement lawsuit last year to protest a section of the Amazon website that displays hundreds of its products and doesn’t make clear that the products aren’t coming directly from Williams-Sonoma.
The case is a challenge to the online retailer’s private label push that started with batteries, baby wipes and phone chargers and has expanded to include clothing, toys and high-end furniture.
Amazon argued that the lawsuit should be tossed out. It said it was doing nothing wrong, just providing a place where Williams-Sonoma products, bought elsewhere, could be resold to consumers.
But a magistrate judge in San Francisco said May 2 that Williams-Sonoma made strong enough allegations to proceed with the case.
A California court rejects Amazon’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit Williams-Sonoma filed in December alleging an Amazon private-label line infringes on Williams-Sonoma patents. https://t.co/h0Xm1aIM6o#amazon #patents #furniture pic.twitter.com/V4Ci04mRV3— Furniture Today (@FurnitureToday) May 3, 2019
“It is a close call, but 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,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte wrote in her ruling.
Amazon representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.