Questions over Amazon’s business model

In these unprecedented times, Amazon has not only been one of the busiest retailers on the planet, but it has also been defending its business model in the European Courts.

The highest European Court was tasked with considering if intermediaries, such as Amazon, would infringe a trade mark by merely storing goods in a warehouse. For those familiar with the way in which Amazon works, it offers a 'fulfilled by Amazon' service which allows third parties to send their products to Amazon's warehouse for storage pending an order. When a customer orders a product from a seller, it is in fact Amazon that selects and packages the product and dispatches it to the customer via a third party.  

Brand owners will no doubt be disappointed with the decision and the lost opportunity to consider the wider issues. There has long been a struggle between brand owners and intermediaries who provide the means by which acts of infringement take place.

Read our review below of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)'s much-awaited decision in Coty Germany v Amazon to understand the full detail.

This case reinforces that platforms and other intermediaries are not going to be liable for merely storing infringing goods but it still leaves open the central issue of what happens if they play a more active role, as Amazon do, in the 'fulfilled by Amazon' service.

Chandni Jobanputra, Foot Anstey