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Amazon loses appeal over ‘targeting’ UK shoppers

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Amazon (AMZN.O) suffered a legal setback on Wednesday when it lost an appeal against a ruling that it had violated UK trademarks by directing its U.S. website towards British consumers, a decision with potential implications for other online retailers.

In 2022, London’s Court of Appeal found the U.S. tech giant guilty of trademark infringement. Amazon then appealed to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously last year that its U.S. website was actively “targeting consumers in the UK.”

Amazon chose not to comment on the “ongoing proceedings.” Legal experts specializing in intellectual property noted that this ruling could have broad implications for all online retailers, who may now need to ensure that their platforms do not automatically target British consumers.

The legal dispute began in 2019 when Lifestyle Equities, the proprietor of UK and European trademarks for the “Beverly Hills Polo Club” brand, sued Amazon in London. The trademarks cover a wide range of products, including clothing, luggage, watches, and perfume.

According to Lifestyle Equities, Amazon violated its trademarks by selling U.S.-branded products to British consumers through its U.S. website, a claim Amazon has refuted.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday highlighted that Amazon’s U.S. website features checkboxes stating “Deliver to United Kingdom” when it identifies a user in the UK. This, the court argued, demonstrated that “Amazon did target the UK as a destination for the U.S. branded goods” whenever the product was listed as available for delivery to the UK.

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