Swedish cell phone operator Teleman wins trademark case against Amazon
Trademark law oftentimes does not take company size into consideration when assessing whether or not use of a trademark constitutes an infringement. This was made clear once again in the middle of May this year, when Swedish cell phone carrier Teleman came out on top after being alleged by Amazon of committing trademark infringement, with reference to Teleman’s logotype being too similar to Amazon’s logotype for the voice assistant Alexa . The case started when Amazon filed an opposition against Teleman’s trademark application.
Teleman had a revenue of about € 2.2M (SEK 23 million) in 2019, with roughly € 0.2M in profit. Amazon, on the other hand, had a turnover of roughly $ 280 Billion with profits surpassing $ 14 Billion. The apparent difference in size did not help Amazon when the Swedish trademark office PRV ruled in Teleman’s favor.
The dispute between the companies started when Amazon filed an opposition against Teleman’s trademark, claiming it was too similar to the one used for Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. See the logotypes below:
”We see this happening within trademark law time and time again. Large companies defend their trademark rights very broadly and only receiving an opposition from such a large company can scare many smaller companies into forfeiting the dispute and change logotype before the case has even been handled by the trademark offices, such as EUIPO in the EU. However, it is not this simple; the larger company is not automatically the winner. In this particular case, Teleman succeeded in showing both that the differences between the trademarks are significant enough despite their obvious similarities, but also that a smaller company does not have to back down just because a well reputed or large company tells them to do so . ” Comments Jarno Hottinen, CEO and founder of Otmore.
Article written by Fredrik Ljungman