Seattle-based novelty pillowcase maker Milo & Gabby is suing the eCommerce retailer for third-party merchants selling knockoff versions of its pillowcases on Amazon’s site.
GeekWire reported yesterday (July 21) that a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, which accuses Amazon of patent infringement.
The case has the potential to set a precedent on holding an online marketplace accountable for any counterfeit products sold on its site, GeekWire reported.
It all started back in 2013, when Milo & Gabby originally filed the case, claiming a Chinese manufacturer copied the design of its animal-shaped pillows and began selling them on Amazon. According to the lawsuit, the third-party seller even used Milo & Gabby’s product photographs to promote the bogus goods.
In court filings Amazon argues it cannot be held responsible when counterfeit goods are sold on its site because it only provides the platform but does not sell the products itself, GeekWire said.
The counterfeit products have since been removed from the site, but Milo & Gabby still claim Amazon committed patent infringement by listing the products in the first place.
According to GeekWire, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez sided with Amazon on several trademark and copyright infringement issues in his July 16 ruling but did not dismiss the patent infringement claims against the eCommerce giant.
In a blog post detailing what led up to the lawsuit, Milo & Gabby said: “Milo & Gabby made a decision, early on, not to sell to Amazon, they felt the online retailer was not a good fit for their product line. But their unique designs made it to Amazon’s warehouse and website anyway.”
“In their response to Milo & Gabby’s lawsuit, Amazon’s lawyers claimed the retailer did nothing wrong. They asked the judge to throw out the case for various reasons … The question is, if Amazon didn’t think they did anything wrong, why did they quickly remove all the pillowcases from their website, directly after the lawsuit was filed? Isn’t that an admission of guilt in itself? Ignorance isn’t an excuse in this day and age of instant information. It is the retailer’s job to know who owns the rights of products that they sell,” the post added.