Jeffrey Wax v. Amazon Technologies, Inc.

Case Details

This is a patent infringement case between Plaintiff Jeffrey S. Wax, a patent attorney, and Amazon Technologies regarding the US Trademark titled “Amazon Ventures.” The Plaintiff intended to use this trademark in his business assisting startups obtain venture capital: In 2000, he filed an intent-to-use application to register the name “Amazon Ventures” with “ventures” disclaimed, for “investment management, raising venture capital for others… and capital investment consultation.” The trademark was not registered because of its similarity to the trademark in use by Amazon.com. The issue at hand is whether the name “Amazon Ventures” fits the definition of likelihood of confusion as compared to Amazon.com.

Plaintiff’s Argument

  • Plaintiff argues that Amazon’s trademark was mostly dependent on the suffix “.com”, describing it as “an integral part of the mark”.
  • Plaintiff claims that his desired title Amazon Ventures, when examined as a whole entity, is not similar enough to Amazon.com to constitute likelihood of confusion.
  • Plaintiff further claims that Amazon.com does not provide investment management or venture capital funding services, and due to the difference in industry, confusion is unlikely.

Amazon’s Argument

  • Amazon.com asserts that it had common-law priority of use over the trademark Amazon and variations that may be subject to confusion
  • Amazon Technologies, Inc., owned several registered trademarks stemming from applications that were filed before the priority date of Amazon Ventures and based upon the mark Amazon.com.

Summary and Conclusion

The Court determined that because Amazon Technologies Inc. is the dominant component for the trademarks utilizing this term, there is a high degree of similarity between Amazon.com and Amazon Ventures. This further indicates a likelihood of confusion. The Court determined that, based on the DuPont factors, there is a high likelihood of confusion between the Amazon Ventures and Amazon.com marks. Therefore, the Court ruled in favor of Amazon Technologies, Inc. on the grounds that Mr. Wax’s arguments lacked merit.