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Multi Time Mach., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc. - 804 F.3d 930 (9th Cir. 2015)

Rule:

The core element of trademark infringement is whether the defendant's conduct is likely to confuse customers about the source of the products.

Facts:

MTM brought  a suit alleging that Amazon's response to a search for the MTM Special Ops watch on its website is trademark infringement in violation of the  Lanham Act. MTM contended that Amazon's search results page creates a likelihood of confusion, even though there is no evidence of any actual confusion and even though the other brands are clearly identified by name. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Amazon. MTM appealed.

Issue:

Does the defendant online retailer’s response to a search for the plaintiff’s product on its website constitute trademark infringement?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that when an online retailer responded to a customer's inquiry about plaintiff's product, which it did not carry, by stating clearly and showing pictures of what brands it did carry, the retailer did not infringe plaintiff's trademark under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125 because no rational trier of fact could find that a reasonably prudent consumer accustomed to shopping online would likely be confused by the search results.

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