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E-commerce

Williams-Sonoma sues Amazon for trademark infringement

Homewares retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc (WSI) has accused online marketplace Amazon of copying trademarked product design in its line of private-label products and setting up an unauthorised branded storefront that claims the retail services are provided ‘by Williams-Sonoma’.

The accusations are part of a lawsuit, filed on Friday, December 14, in the San Francisco federal court, in which WSI notes that “many of these products have been the subject of customer complaints on the Amazon website”.

“Unless [Amazon] is enjoined from infringing WSI’s intellectual property rights and otherwise deceiving the consuming public and tarnishing WSI’s flagship brand, WSI will continue to suffer substantial and irreparable harm,” the lawsuit reads.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Inc. v. Amazon, Case No. 18-cv-07548

The document points to Amazon’s private label line ‘Rivet’, which WSI claims includes products that are “knockoffs of WSI’s popular west elm ® brand products”.

“Throughout its Rivet line, Amazon has copied WSI’s products and intellectual property… it is implausible Amazon could have conceived of a product line with nearly identical product designs which feature product names containing the very same non-descriptive terms WSI uses”.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Inc. v. Amazon, Case No. 18-cv-07548

These acts are meant to confuse customers, according to WSI, and constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The homewares retailer is seeking damages, and a repayment of lost profits of an amount to be decided during the trial, as well as statutory damages of up to US$2 million ($2.8  million) per counterfeit good sold.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg on the matter.

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