Amazon may be held accountable for promoting red-soled shoes that may infringe on designer Christian Louboutin’s EU trademark.
Without Louboutin’s permission, third-party retailers are marketing similar red-soled high heels on Amazon.
According to the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU), Amazon may be liable for any trademark violation.
The preliminary judgement by the court in Luxembourg clears the way for Amazon to perhaps be held accountable for advertisements for any fake goods sold on its website.
Amazon and shoemaker Louboutin, whose high heels normally cost at least £600, have been at odds for a while.
In 2019, Louboutin filed two lawsuits against the firm in Belgian and Luxembourgian courts, alleging that Amazon routinely ran advertisements for red-soled shoes on its marketplace without Louboutin’s permission.
The Court of Justice of the European Union was consulted by the two courts.
In its decision on Thursday, the CJEU stated that Amazon might be held liable for suspected intellectual property violations discovered in the marketing of knockoff shoes that have the well-known red sole.
According to the Court of Justice of the European Union, two national courts in Belgium and Luxembourg will now decide if this is the case.
The patented red sole has been used unlawfully by Amazon “for products identical” to those made by Louboutin, according to the company, which “insists, in particular, on the fact that the challenged ads form an intrinsic component of Amazon’s marketing communication.”
Louboutin’s attorney, Thierry Van Innis, claimed that the CJEU had “in every detail” followed the designer’s arguments.
After the court’s decision, Mr. Van Innis told the news agency Reuters that “Amazon can be held accountable for the breaches as if the platform were itself the vendor.”
The case contributes to a larger discussion on trademark infringement on online marketplaces and the challenge users face in finding a genuine seller.
According to intellectual property attorney Fabian Klein of the legal firm Pinsent Masons, platform providers should assess the design of their websites to make sure that it is obvious to the general public where the offers originated.