POOLE cosmetics firm Lush has won a High Court victory over online giant Amazon, which it accused of infringing its trade-marks.
Lush does not sell via Amazon and said the internet retailer was misleading customers into thinking they were buying Lush products.
Lush objected to the fact that visitors typing “lush” into Amazon UK’s search box were directed to other brands of cosmetics.
Amazon also ran a Google AdWords campaign, showing customers’ products from rival brands when they typed in the keywords “Lush bath products”.
The court decided that Lush had established its trademarks had been infringed and that the average consumer would gen-erally be unable to ascertain the goods in Amazon’s search results were not connected to Lush.
The court held that the “right of the public to access tech-nological developments does not allow a trader such as Amazon to ride roughshod over intellectual property rights, to treat trade-marks such as Lush as no more than a generic indication of a class of goods in which the con-sumer might have an interest”.
Karl Bygrave of Lush said: “This was not only about Amazon using our trademark as a keyword to generate sponsored listings on search engines, but mainly about customers.
“When customers were on the Amazon site, they were unable to tell that our products are not sold on Amazon and therefore bought products believing them to have been Lush products when they were not.
“In just the same way that Amazon prides itself on being innovative, so do we.
“We have built worldwide recognition in our trademarks and patented products so customers know they’re buying Lush products.
“We work hard to maintain our ethical integrity in all aspects of our business. Lush is our house mark and our business is dependent upon it.
“We will always protect our name.”
An Amazon spokesman said only: “We plan to appeal this.”
Lush was founded in the 1980s by Mark and Mo Constantine, who set up the Herbal Hair and Beauty Clinic in Poole High Street and supplied cosmetics to the Body Shop in their early days.
The Lush brand name was established in the 1990s and a branch in London’s King’s Road helped turn the company into a worldwide success after celebrities such as Madonna and Julia Roberts were spotted shopping there.