Ohio State Loses Trademark Infringement Suit Against Redbubble

Written April 12, 2019

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on April 1, 2019, held that Redbubble, Inc. was not liable for direct infringement of several of Ohio State University’s trademarks. The Ohio State Univ. v. Redbubble Inc., S.D. Ohio, No. 17-cv-1092, 3/29/19.

Ohio State alleged that Redbubble, a “global online marketplace” which allows “independent artists” to upload and sell products, sold infringing products on their platform. Redbubble’s business model relies on the automated use of third-party services: artists are automatically connected with a third-party manufacturer to make the goods, a third-party service to package and ship the goods, and a third-party to process payment for the goods.

The Court found that Redbubble’s actions resemble those of an auction house as opposed to companies that themselves manufacture and ship infringing products to a customer and granted RedBubble’s cross-motion for summary judgment.