Amazon’s “Rivet” line includes products that are “strikingly similar” to Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm brand, including a $300 orb chair the household goods maker introduced two years ago, according to Williams-Sonoma’s complaint. (Source: Court Documents)

Amazon Can't Duck Williams-Sonoma Suit Over Furniture Sales

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. failed to dodge a lawsuit that accused it of trying to trick shoppers into thinking it was an authorized reseller of Williams-Sonoma products.

Williams-Sonoma filed the trademark-infringement lawsuit last year to protest a section of the Amazon website that displays hundreds of its products and doesn’t make clear that the products aren’t coming directly from Williams-Sonoma.

The case is a challenge to the online retailer’s private label push that started with batteries, baby wipes and phone chargers and has expanded to include clothing, toys and high-end furniture.

Amazon argued that the lawsuit should be tossed out. It said it was doing nothing wrong, just providing a place where Williams-Sonoma products, bought elsewhere, could be resold to consumers.

But a magistrate judge in San Francisco said Thursday that Williams-Sonoma made strong enough allegations to proceed with the case.

“It is a close call but on balance the allegations raise the plausible inference that Amazon is not merely reselling Williams-Sonoma products, but is instead cultivating the incorrect impression that these sales on Amazon.com are authorized by Williams-Sonoma and that a reasonably prudent consumer is likely to be confused,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte wrote in her ruling.

Amazon representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is Williams-Sonoma Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 3:18-cv-07548, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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