Judge tosses Amazon trademark lawsuit

A federal judge dismisses a lawsuit filed by the e-tail giant against a California man the company accused of infringing on its trademarks.

2 min read
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com against a California man the company accused of infringing on its trademarks.

Seattle-based Amazon sued Von Eric Lerner Kalaydjian and his Los Angeles-based Amazon Cosmetics and Tan Products company in U.S. District Court in Washington state last year over Kalaydjian's Web site, Amazontan.com. In an order filed last week, U.S. District Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein threw out the case, ruling that the state of Washington has no jurisdiction over Kalaydjian or Amazon Cosmetics.

"This court lacks general jurisdiction in this case," Rothstein wrote in her dismissal order. Kalaydjian's "activities are too limited in breadth and frequency to be deemed substantial or continuous and systematic."

Kalaydjian's lawyer, Michael Diliberto, said he and his client were "thrilled" that the judge dismissed the case.

"This adds another brush to the tapestry of what constitutes doing business on the Internet in another state," Diliberto said. "We're always happy to see jurisdictional issues like this clarified."

Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith noted that the judge did not rule on the merits of the case. Amazon plans to refile the suit in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California "in the next day or so," Smith said.

Kalaydjian set up Amazon Cosmetics in September 1999, Diliberto said. In April of last year, he registered Amazontan.com as a trademark and "Amazon" as a service mark--similar to a trademark--in California.

Before the case, Kalaydjian and Amazon exchanged cease-and-desist letters over the use of the "Amazon" moniker to sell beauty products. Since he went into business, Kalaydjian has sold only about 100 bottles of the tanning oil, according to the order.

The imbroglio between Amazon and Kalaydjian is only the latest name dispute Amazon has found itself in. In 1999, Minnesota-based Amazon Bookstore Cooperative sued Amazon, charging the e-tail giant with trademark infringement. The two parties settled out of court, with Amazon Bookstore assigning rights to the Amazon name to the e-tailer.

Earlier that year, Amazon sued the operator of Amazon.gr, which dubbed itself "Greece's Biggest Bookstore." A Greek court later ordered the operator to cease using the Amazon.gr URL and the "Amazon" name.