Troubling Trademark Ruling Over Amazon's Internal Search Results
When a consumer searches for a product a retailer doesn’t carry, how should the retailer respond? A recent federal appellate court opinion suggested that Amazon.com gave the wrong answers to consumers searching for a watch brand that it didn’t carry. Multi Time Machine makes high-end military-style watches under brand names including “MTM Special Ops.” MTM tightly controls its distribution channels. As a result, Amazon.com doesn’t carry MTM’s watches. When consumers searched for “MTM Special Ops Watches” in Amazon’s internal search engine, consumers were provided a list of “aesthetically similar, multifunction watches manufactured by MTM’s competitors” such as Luminox and Chase-Durer, but the search results page didn't expressly say that Amazon doesn’t carry MTM watches.