Amazon not liable for storage of counterfeit goods, CJEU rules

4 Apr 2020 , 8:20pm

The online retailer was sued by Coty which claimed Amazon had violated its EU trademark rights by stocking Coty's Davidoff perfume for third-party sellers. 

Luxury company Coty has lost its long-running case against online retailer Amazon. According to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), it is not liable for unknowingly stocking goods for third-party sellers who infringe trademarks. The result rubberstamps a previous Attorney General opinion issued in November last year. 

The case was first heard in the German courts in 2014 after a Coty test purchaser used Amazon to order the perfume ‘Davidoff Hot Water’. The item, which was listed under the ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ scheme, allowed for Amazon to store and distribute products on behalf of third parties using the platform. 

According to the judges, “The mere storage by Amazon, in the context of its online marketplace (Amazon Marketplace), of goods which infringe trademark rights does not constitute an infringement by Amazon of those trademark rights."

Coty gained the CJEU backing in 2017 to stop retailers selling their products on online platforms to protect their image, marking a landmark victory for brand names.