Amazon Found Liable for UK Trademark Infringement: Implications for Cross-Border Sales

As consumers seamlessly navigate ecommerce platforms, questions surrounding the targeting of specific markets have become paramount, particularly in the realm of trademark law. A recent landmark judgment by the UK Supreme Court in the case of Lifestyle Equities v Amazon sheds light on these complexities, offering valuable guidance for businesses and legal practitioners navigating the intricacies of online commerce.


Igor Demcak

Details of the Case

In 2019, Lifestyle Equities, the holder of EU and UK trademarks for the BEVERLY HILLS POLO CLUB brand, brought forward allegations of trademark infringement against Amazon. In the United States, a different entity owns the corresponding trademarks and produces identical branded items which it sells on Amazon. Lifestyle Equities claims that, despite this discrepancy, Amazon has facilitated the sale of these products to British and European consumers via its American platform, thus infringing on their trademark territory.

On the other side, Amazon argues that its activities on its US website are primarily directed at US consumers and are not specifically aimed at the UK market. The ecommerce platform contended that since the sales are made on a US-based platform, they fall outside the scope of UK trademark law.


In a unanimous decision, the UK Supreme Court upheld the finding that Amazon had targeted the UK market with its marketing and sales activities. The judgment, meticulously crafted by Lord Briggs and Lord Kitchin, delved into the intricacies of Amazon's website design, user interactions, and marketing strategies. From the initial landing page to the final stages of the purchase process, the court scrutinized various indicators suggesting the targeting of UK consumers. These included explicit messages about delivery to the UK, UK-specific delivery times, and the option to pay in pounds.

Analysis of the Judgment

The ruling in Lifestyle Equities v Amazon carries significant implications for the interpretation of trademark law in the context of ecommerce platforms. By emphasizing the importance of a nuanced assessment of website content and user interactions, the Supreme Court provides clarity on the concept of targeting in the virtual marketplace. This guidance is particularly relevant for businesses that increasingly rely on online platforms to reach consumers across borders.

Moreover, the judgment underscores the evolving dynamics of trademark enforcement in cross-border transactions. The court's analysis of Amazon's website highlights the need for trademark owners to vigilantly monitor and protect their rights on online marketplaces. Additionally, it serves as a reminder to online marketplaces of their responsibilities in ensuring compliance with trademark laws, particularly when catering to diverse international markets.

As businesses navigate the complexities of the digital marketplace, the principles elucidated by the UK Supreme Court serve as a guiding framework, ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights and the promotion of fair competition. In an increasingly interconnected world, where online transactions transcend geographical boundaries, trademarks continue to play a pivotal role in fostering consumer confidence and preserving market integrity.

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak

Trademark Attorney

Founder & CEO of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

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