Amazon wins trademark case over perfumes sold by third parties

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled Thursday in favor of Amazon in its landmark trademark dispute with the German wing of the international cosmetics giant Coty. The court found that “the mere storage by Amazon, in the context of its online marketplace (‘Amazon- Marketplace’), of goods which infringe trade mark rights does not constitute an infringement by Amazon of those trade mark rights.”

Coty Germany owns a license for the EU trademark “Davidoff,” which is a perfume brand. The dispute arose when Coty Germany claimed that “two Amazon group companies infringed its rights in that mark by storing and dispatching bottles of ‘Davidoff Hot Water’ perfume offered for sale by third-party sellers on Amazon-Marketplace” without their consent. Coty Germany requested that the German courts order “the two Amazon companies concerned to desist from such storage and dispatch.”

“The Landgericht (Regional Court, Germany) dismissed the action brought by Coty,” and the appeals court affirmed that dismissal. Coty Germany appealed again this time to the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice in Germany). The Bundesgerichtshof temporarily halted its proceedings in order to ask the ECJ, “whether a company which, on behalf of a third-party seller, stores goods which infringe trade mark rights, without being aware of that infringement, itself uses that mark.”