24 July 2017Copyright

Federal Circuit rejects Amazon’s precedential plea in pillowcase suit

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected Amazon’s plea to reissue a ruling that cleared it of trademark and copyright infringement as precedential.

A three-judge panel handed down the decision on Thursday, June 20, without giving any reasons.

In a two-page document, the ruling read: “Appellee and amicus curiae eBay separately move to reissue the court’s non-precedential opinion, dated May 23, 2017, as precedential.”

It added: “Upon consideration thereof, it is ordered that: the motions are denied.”

Amazon was sued by pillowcase designer Milo & Gabby in July 2015 for copyright and trademark infringement, which the online retailer was later cleared of.

Milo & Gabby accused Amazon of allowing “direct knockoff copies” of its animal-shaped pillowcases to be sold by third parties online.

According to the claim, Amazon was liable for copyright infringement as it had allowed third parties to use images belonging to Milo & Gabby.

The images also contained the Milo & Gabby logo, which the company further claimed infringed its trademark rights.

However, a district court dismissed the case.

And in May, WIPR reported that the Federal Circuit had rejected Seattle-based Milo & Gabby’s appeal, stating that the US District Court for the Western District of Washington did not err when it dismissed the company’s claims in July 2015. The Federal Circuit ruling was non-precedential.

Last month, Amazon filed a request to reissue the ruling as precedential.

“By making the opinion precedential, the court would show district courts that direct patent infringement claims against online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay should fail as a matter of law,” said Amazon in its request.

It added: “Providing this guidance could help avoid unnecessary costs of litigating future cases past the pleading stage.”

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