Recently, Amazon was sued because of its confusing search bar. A military watchmaker company believes that the search results that Amazon gives are too varied and “confusing” for someone willing to buy.
Multi Time Machines (MTM) is a company specialized in making military like watches. Back in 2011, when this whole feud began, MTM noticed that searching Amazon for one of its products, the Special Ops, will not only not show their watch; it will show similar types of watches from completely different, rival watchmakers, like Casio, Suunto, or Luminox.
After their discovery MTM decided to sue Amazon for trademark issues. The lawsuit has since lost in a federal court in California, but was recently reopened after an appeal, winning a member of the jury to MTM’s side, for a final vote of 2-1, during the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the lawsuit can go to trial.
However user friendly, and helpful to costumers willing to see variety in options, the case arguments are strong. The fact that the search result returns timepieces from all other companies except MTM is reason enough for one vote in court.
Provided MTM does not have a dealership contract with Amazon, it shouldn’t obligate the latter to restrict its search. However, the point MTM is trying to make is that Amazon should at least warn potential buyers of the lack of a partnership between the watchmaker and the online retailer.
As is the case now, a person wanting to buy an MTM device from Amazon may be led to believe that the watches from their competitors are still made by MTM for them.
If you try it for yourself, you will find the same results. Just plainly go to amazon.com and search for “MTM watch”, or “MTM Special Ops.” There is not a single result from MTM, since the two companies have no business together, yet there are countless others from competitors of MTM.
There is no warning after you hit search that there are no actual MTM watches on the website, and that the query is returning similar watches from other companies.
The arguments that were presented against the claim by MTM, and probably the reason for the split court, stated that no customer that is used to shopping online would ever be misled by such results. Yet, now since one of the jury members found Amazon confusing, the case will go on.
Image source: reutersmedia.net