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Amazon To Face Lawsuit Over Questionable Search Results

Amazon To Face Lawsuit Over Questionable Search Results
[Photo: Flickr user Rob Ireton]

Ever been stumped by the breadth of brands displayed in Amazon’s search results? An appeals court thinks you might have reason to be: On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled in favor of a Los Angeles-based watch company that claims the e-commerce company is confusing customers with its search results, according to Reuters.

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“We think a jury could find that Amazon has created a likelihood of confusion,” the court wrote in its ruling. The 2-1 decision in support of watchmaker Multi Time Machine (MTM)–which first sued Amazon in 2011–reversed a verdict reached by a lower court two years ago.

MTM, which does not sell its fare on Amazon, alleges that the search results for “MTM Special Ops” pull up similar military-style watches from competing brands, without clarifying that the retail giant does not stock MTM’s products. Customers may very well purchase one of the watches carried by Amazon, MTM argues, rather than seeking out its products elsewhere.

The court’s dissenting opinion, penned by Judge Barry Silverman, notes that people who frequent Amazon probably would not be misled by the scope of the search results. “No reasonably prudent consumer accustomed to shopping online would likely be confused as to the source of the products,” he said.

According to Engadget, Amazon previously faced–and lost–a similar lawsuit from cosmetics retailer Lush, for showing results from other companies when customers used the search term “Lush.”

[via Engadget]

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