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Amazon to appeal against Lush High Court ruling

20-02-2014

Amazon to appeal against Lush High Court ruling

Amazon is to appeal against a High Court ruling that it had infringed trademarks belonging to cosmetics company Lush.

The online retailer was accused by UK-based Lush of returning results for ‘Lush’ in its search engine despite not selling any of its products.

Lush also claimed that, through the use of Google AdWords, someone searching for "Lush bath products" would be redirected to the Amazon website and would be shown alternative products.

Issuing the judgment at the UK High Court last week, judge John Baldwin found that the average consumer would generally would not realise that the goods from Amazon’s search results were "not the goods of or connected with" Lush.

Judge Baldwin added: “The right of the public to access technological developments does not allow a trader such as Amazon to ride rough shod over IP rights, to treat trademarks such as Lush as no more than a generic indication of a class of goods in which the consumer might have an interest”.

An Amazon spokesman confirmed to WIPR today, February 20, that it was planning an appeal.

In August last year, WIPR reported exclusively that Lush had filed a complaint. The case was heard in December.

The dispute has similarities with the Interflora v Marks & Spencer High Court ruling in May last year.

There, Mr Justice Arnold found that retailer Marks & Spencer’s use of ‘Interflora’ Google AdWords that produced search results for its flower delivery services did infringe trademarks belonging to an existing flower delivery company of the same name.

Originally set up in 1994, Lush now operates more than 800 stores in 51 countries. It produces and sells handmade cosmetic products, including soaps, shower gels and shampoos.

Since the judgment, Lush has announced it acquired a trademark in 2012 for a new range of toiletries branded ‘Christopher North’, the name of Amazon’s managing director.

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Lush was represented by Lewis Silkin LLP in the case, while Amazon was represented by Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.


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