728_header.jpg (23748 bytes)
 Home 
 EB Blog 
 AB Blog 
 Letters 
 Podcasts 
 Forums 
 EPIS 
 Classifieds 
 EKG 
 Ratings 
EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3010 - February 27, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 5

Court Rules on Amazon's Merchandising Practices

By David A. Utter
EcommerceBytes.com
February 27, 2013




Email This Story to a Friend

One of the benefits of shopping on Amazon comes from how the company presents alternatives to searchers on the site. These search results give shoppers additional choices beyond what they may have thought they already wanted.

But like many things in life, there's always someone who doesn't gain the same benefit that many other people do from a given practice. As law professor Eric Goldman noted at Forbes, Amazon's search results and merchandising earned it a court challenge.

Amazon won the challenge brought by Multi Time Machine (MTM), a watchmaker who doesn't sell products on Amazon. As Goldman noted, searching for that company's products on Amazon instead brought competing products to the search results.

MTM responded with a trademark infringement suit. Amazon asked for summary judgment, a motion the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted in favor of the retailer. The decision seems to reflect how a shopper might enter a brick-and-mortar store looking for one brand, and encounters a display containing a competing brand.

Goldman noted how this practice goes on regularly in the world of retail. He cited examples like "retailers charge vendors "slotting fees" to place their products on store shelves next to the competitors' products."

Essentially, Amazon does enough in its search results in the court's opinion to avoid confusing customers over what's being presented in response to a query. This may be a bit of a relief to ecommerce pros in niche markets where a similar potential for confusion could exist.


Related Stories
Sellers Sue Amazon over Payment Holds - March 19, 2013

Court Rules on Amazon's Merchandising Practices - February 27, 2013

Amazon Launches Prime Shipping Program in Canada - January 09, 2013

Amazon Beats eBay in List of Top CEOs - January 07, 2013

Amazon Marketplace Sellers Grow Unit Sales But What about Profits? - January 03, 2013

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.


Email This Story to a Friend
Email this story to a friend.


3 of 5