Amazon Creates Initial Interest Confusion

Initial Interest Confusion

This section focuses on confusion a trademark may cause for potential customers.

The court considers eight non-exhaustive factors whether a trademark use causes a likelihood of confusion: strength of the mark, proximity or relatedness of the goods, similarity of the marks, evidence of actual confusion, marketing channels, degree of consumer care, the defendants’ intent and likelihood of expansion.

In the case involving Multi Time Machine Inc. the court determined that the question of fact existed as to the likelihood of confusion.1 They determined that under Amazon’s clear labeling of the products at issue with name, model and photograph, no reasonable consumer could possibly find that they were sincerely confused by the Amazon search results.2 Therefore, there was no infringement under the Lanham Act.3 Additionally, in Sanmedica International, LLC v. Amazon.com Inc., the court determined that there was no likelihood of confusion since unauthorized use of the trademark at issue did not influence any sales.4


  1. Multi Time Mach., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 792 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2015).
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. Sanmedica Int’l, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 2:13-cv-00169-DN, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50470 (D. Utah Mar. 27, 2015)

  • Multi Time Mach., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 792 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2015).

Plaintiff argued Amazon confused customers – Plaintiff did not sell items on Amazon, but when customers searched for it, Amazon returned results with Plaintiff’s trademark and listings from other sellers.

  • Sanmedica Int’l, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50470 (D. Utah Mar. 27, 2015).

Plaintiff had a viable argument where Amazon confused customers by using its trademark in listings when it was not authorized and the goods could not be purchased.

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