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Williams-Sonoma sues Amazon over alleged trademark infringement

Home furniture retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. filed a case against Amazon.com Inc. for illegally using its name and selling items that are "strikingly similar" to Williams-Sonoma products.

In a complaint lodged with the U.S. District Court of Northern California, Williams-Sonoma said the e-commerce giant recently began using the company name to "advertise, promote and offer competing retail services" on the Amazon website without proper authorization.

The household goods maker said the move causes confusion among consumers and may lead them to believe the products originate from, are authorized by or are associated with the Williams-Sonoma group.

In addition, Williams-Sonoma said items under Amazon's private-label home goods and furniture brand Rivet are nearly identical to the products it offers under its own West Elm brand. The company alleged that Amazon copied three of its in-house designed chairs, including a $299 "orb chair."

The development comes months after the European Union conducted an investigation into whether Amazon is copying products from its sellers in the region. This follows an earlier probe into whether the company uses merchant data to unfairly gain a foothold over its sellers.

The e-retailer has 134 private-label brands as of Dec. 14, according to TJI Research.

Amazon declined to comment on the case.