Chennai-based kids activity boxes provider Flintobox has filed a legal notice against Amazon claiming that the online platform has unlawfully used its brand name as a keyword to drive traffic to its website, reports ET Tech. The company has sent Amazon a ‘cease-and-desist’ notice and is suing it for Rs 10 lakh in damages.
According to Flintobox, on typing the word ‘Flintobox’ in Google, the first result was a sponsored ad for ‘Flintobox at Amazon’, although on clicking the link, no Flintobox products were available. Instead Amazon displayed other products by other companies. Essentially Flintobox is accusing Amazon of “(using) Google to steal a prospective buyer of Flintobox, and instead introducing them to some of their (rather irrelevant) products.”
The startup mentions that it has trademarked the word ‘Flintobox’ for over 2 years, and as such, had raised a complaint with Amazon. Amazon however, disappointingly, did nothing to alleviate the situation, and according to Flintobox it had to submit its trademark documents to Google to remove the misleading ads. Subsequently the ads reappeared, but the the word “Flinto box” in the ad instead of Flintobox. Google refused to remove this ad, as the word with a space was not trademarked.
The startup mentions that it once again wrote to Amazon only to get automated replies. However, Amazon Help did reply on Twitter eventually last week, citing that ‘Our automated systems pick keywords based on what users search and buy’, while also promising to to stop using the Flintobox trademark in future ads. However, the company continues to list “Flintobox” in search results on its website, displaying 10 results, of which none are Flintobox products.
Amazon’s policy and excuses are honestly quite lame – it’s not acceptable to pick out a popular brand name, display ads purporting the sale of said brand goods, and then subsequently displaying products from rival brands, or in some cases even irrelevant products. I have myself noticed clicking on Amazon for a product I am looking to buy, only to find that Amazon does not not actually sell the specific product, rather offering generic items that sound similar. It’s only fair the startup wants Amazon to stop using its name, or displaying search results against its name, when not selling any of its products.