Amazon taken to court by Lush
Pioneering cosmetics company Lush is taking retail giant Amazon to court over copyright infringement.
The Guardian reported this weekend that according to documents filed in court, "Lush brought trademark infringement proceedings against Amazon on the basis that when the term 'Lush' was searched for on Amazon's website, the results returned were for goods which, although they featured the word 'lush' in a number of contexts, were not in fact made by Lush. Amazon had also bid on the Google AdWord 'Lush Bath Products' but did not, in fact, sell any Lush products."
Lush does not allow Amazon to sell its products but when visitors to Amazon type the word "lush" into its search field, they are directed to alternative cosmetic products that the online giant suggests they might like to buy instead.
Lush's founder Mark Constantine said Amazon's alleged infringement of Lush's intellectual property was a "way of bullying businesses to use its services and we refused".
In an interview in the New Review, he said: "We've been in the high court this week to sue it for breach of trademark. It's cost us half a million pounds so far to defend our business. Most companies just can't afford that. But we've done it because it's a matter of principle. [Amazon] keeps forcing your hand and yet it doesn't have a viable business model. The only way it can afford to run it is by not paying tax. If it had to behave in a more conventional way, it would struggle."
Amazon is the target of a boycott campaign from Ethical Consumer and has been criticised from all sides for its tax avoidance. "It is not making a contribution and there has to be some debate about this," Constantine said. "It's not conventional capitalism. What used to be the norm – paying your taxes – is now seen as somehow exemplary and that can't be right."
He continued, "It's a form of piracy capitalism, [Amazon] rushes into people's countries, it takes the money out, and dumps it in some port of convenience. That's not a business in any traditional sense. It's an ugly return to a form of exploitative capitalism that we had a century ago and we decided as a society to move on from."
This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.
Find out more about our tax justice campaign including our boycott of Amazon.
Ethical Consumer on Google+