Sorry Amazon, Fun Pillowcase Ruling Is Not Precedent
It seems that no matter how much legal pillow talk (a.k.a. pleading) Amazon's lawyers attempt, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is not interested in making the pro-Amazon no pillow infringement ruling precedential.
The case that Amazon wants to be able to rely on is Milo & Gabby llc v. Amazon.com. The case involved a product manufacturer's claims for damages against Amazon for trademark and copyright infringement due to the counterfeiting of third party sellers on Amazon's Seller Marketplace. Basically, a fun kids pillowcase manufacturer alleged that Amazon profited by allowing Seller's Marketplace counterfeits of their products to be sold. The court agreed with Amazon in the case, but did not issue a precedent-setting ruling.
Amazon's Request Refused
Shortly after the appellate court ruled in their favor, Amazon filed a request to make the decision precedential in order to prevent future litigation of the same type to make it past the pleading stage. The court denied the request with no explanation, but noted that Amazon was joined by Ebay in making that request.
Always Another Chance at Setting Precedent
The online retailers were seeking the precedent because claims of fraud, counterfeiting, and more have been running rampant in online marketplaces since their inception. The hope was that the ruling would provide sufficient ammunition to knock out a manufacturer's claim against an online marketplace provider at the 12(b)6 stage, by being able to show the claim would fail as a matter of law. Amazon may get their chance at setting precedent, as a recent case against them alleging similar facts was just filed in an Ohio federal court.
However, Amazon is not lying down in the fight against counterfeiters, even if they may take a tough stance against claims filed against them. Amazon has been cracking down on counterfeiters exploiting their Seller Marketplace and has even filed lawsuits of their own.
- United States Federal Circuit Cases (FindLaw's Cases & Codes)
- Amazon Cracks Down on Counterfeit Sellers, Files Lawsuits (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Online Counterfeits Put E-Commerce Companies at Risk (FindLaw's In House)
- Justice Shuts Down Major Dark Web Dealer (FindLaw's Technologist)