For years, many luxury brands have resisted selling on Amazon. The reason is simple. They wanted an exclusive, brand-controlled shopping experience, and Amazon’s lawless, Wild West approach to shopping didn’t help.
But that could be forcibly changed, thanks to a preliminary judgment on December 22nd in a lawsuit filed against Amazon by Christian Louboutin.suit, This was originally filed in 2019, claiming Amazon should be held responsible for the plethora of sponsored posts of counterfeit Louboutin shoes with the brand’s trademark red soles. Even now, if you search for “Christian Louboutin” on Amazon, you’ll find dozens of sponsored listings of other brands that either sell red-soled shoes or sell red-soled shoes to wear over existing shoes. .
This is a known problem for many years. In 2020, Glossy reported that searching for “Gucci” on Amazon would bring up dozens of sponsored products with Gucci signatures, such as red and green stripes and a large G logo. That is no different today, but change could be on the horizon.
The lawsuits, filed in Belgium and Luxembourg, are still being decided by EU courts. But the interim ruling seems to indicate the court is sympathetic to the idea that Amazon should be held responsible for what an advertiser places on her Amazon platform. The Belgian and Luxembourg courts, seeking guidance from the Supreme Court of the European Union, the Court of Justice of the European Union, ruled in Louboutin’s favour. This paved the way for two national courts to uphold Louboutin’s claims.
An Amazon spokesperson told Glossy: “Amazon makes it clear where you buy from by displaying merchant information when you shop in our stores.”
Louboutin is not seeking financial compensation. Just for Amazon to end counterfeiting. If a court rules in favor of brands, Amazon will have to change how it handles keyword advertising. This now allows the use of other brand names as targeted keywords. This practice is known as advertising hijacking or brand poaching.
Mike Sweeney, general counsel for anti-counterfeiting technology company Incopro, said Amazon and similar marketplaces can usually get around trademark infringement rules. This is because the Safe His Harbor provision often protects the marketplace from liability for actions taken by sellers on the marketplace. In other words, Amazon is not responsible if a seller infringes a luxury brand’s copyright on her Amazon store.
“But things are changing, especially in Europe,” Sweeney said. “In some countries, notably Belgium, there have been judicial rulings where platforms have said, ‘It’s not our fault. It is changing in the direction of “Yes.”