The designer Louboutin is known for noble women's shoes with red soles. Fakes that look deceptively real keep popping up on Amazon. The ECJ now decides that the online retailer Amazon can be held responsible for the trademark infringement.
In a dispute with luxury shoe designer Louboutin over the protection of intellectual property, the online giant Amazon suffered a defeat before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Under certain circumstances, Amazon can be held responsible for trademark infringements by third parties. This was announced by the judges in Luxembourg.
Louboutin's most well-known goods are elegant red-soled women's shoes. The Frenchman has registered the red color of the outsole as a protected trademark in the EU, among other places. However, Amazon regularly shows advertisements for shoes with red soles, which Louboutin claims are being marketed by third parties without its consent. The designer also sees his trademark rights being violated by Amazon and has therefore sued the company in Belgium and Luxembourg.
The crux of the matter was whether the operator of an online marketplace like Amazon is directly liable for the infringement of trademark rights, even if a third party reports it. The ECJ has now confirmed this. If the users of the website had the impression that the pumps were being sold in Amazon's name and on its account, it could be assumed that Amazon was using Louboutin's registered mark itself.
This is the case, among other things, if Amazon designs all advertisements on the website in a uniform way, also presents its own retailer logo on the advertisements of third-party sellers and stores and dispatches the shoes. It is up to the national courts to decide whether a trademark infringement actually exists in the specific case. In courts in Luxembourg and Belgium, the designer wants to ensure that his shoes are not allowed to be sold by third parties via Amazon. He also demands compensation from the online retailer.
The courts in Belgium and Luxembourg must now decide whether there has been trademark infringement and whether Louboutin is entitled to injunctive relief and damages from Amazon. In doing so, they must take into account the legal opinion of the ECJ.