Snuggie maker sues Amazon.com
NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Makers of the Snuggie blanket and other products sold mainly on TV have sued Amazon.com Inc , accusing the internet retailer of trademark infringement for letting an "astronomical" number of counterfeit products to be sold through its website.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday night by Allstar Marketing Group LLC, Ideavillage Products Corp and Ontel Products Corp, which respectively sell such products as the Snuggie, Copper Fit compression sleeves and Magic Tracks toy racetracks through so-called "As Seen on TV" advertising.
It was filed three weeks after Seattle-based Amazon filed two of its own lawsuits in a Washington state court, targeting vendors it said were selling counterfeit goods on its website.
Amazon spokesman Erik Fairleigh declined to comment on Tuesday, citing the pending litigation.
Allstar, Ideavillage and Ontel said they have lost profits because Amazon has let its product display pages be "hijacked" by counterfeiters, which offer impossibly low prices and confuse consumers into thinking their products are the real thing.
The plaintiffs said counterfeiters from China, Japan, Thailand and other countries are taking a "free ride" on their reputation and goodwill, while many consumers leave bad reviews about fake products on the hijacked pages.
"Amazon has taken no action to prevent the sale of such counterfeit products despite having the knowledge, opportunity and means to do so," the plaintiffs said.
The lawsuit also accuses Amazon of copyright infringement, and violating New York state false advertising and unfair competition laws.
It seeks to recoup unspecified sums in the millions of dollars, including lost profits and punitive damages. The plaintiff's lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.
Allstar is based in Hawthorne, New York; Ideavillage in Wayne, New Jersey and Ontel in Fairfield, New Jersey.
Amazon's anti-counterfeiting policy says that "customers trust that they can always buy with confidence on Amazon.com," and that counterfeiters can have their selling privileges revoked and inventory destroyed without reimbursement.
The lawsuits filed by Amazon on Nov. 14 in the Superior Court in King County, Washington targeted makers of what it called fake versions of Forearm Forklift straps, which help people lift heavy items, and TRX exercise products.
In July, the German shoemaker Birkenstock Orthopadie GmbH decided to stop selling on Amazon because of counterfeiters.
The case is Allstar Marketing Group LLC et al v Amazon.com Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-09376. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby, Bernard Orr)