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Bookstores slug it out over name. World's largest river "consulting my legal people"

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Internet bookstore Amazon.com has been hit with a writ by a Minnesota bookshop also called Amazon. The real-world store's suite, filed with the Minneapolis US District Court, claims its virtual-world rival is infringing on its trademark and confusing its customers. "The rapid growth and vast size of Amazon.com, along with its massive marketing expenditures, is overwhelming Amazon Bookstore and negating its attempts to alleviate the confusion and preserve its unique identity," said the real-word store's lawyer, Mathias Samuel. And, according to the Reuters news agency, the store is seeking an injunction to prevent Amazon.com using the word 'Amazon' and to have the virtual-world store's trademark registrations rescinded. A harsh policy, you might think. And you can't help wonder why Amazon Bookstore has waited until now. Samuel's response to Reuters was to claim that "it wasn't until recently that Amazon.com became widespread". If that's the case, he clearly has a very broad definition of the word 'recently'. "The problem here is confusion," he added. "Customers are confused." This surprises us, book-buying being generally the province of the more intelligent members of society and perhaps even some lawyers. And we can't help but wonder, cynical sods that we are, whether this case is the Internet equivalent of the teams of legal eagles sent to accidents to sign up victims for compensation suits. Samuel didn't say whether he was pursuing damages on behalf of his client, but its hard not to conclude that this is what it's all about, and that Amazon Bookstore will settle for a large cheque. Still, Amazon.com may fight it out -- yesterday, the company had yet to see the suit so we are still awaiting its response. ® UpdatedSee Amazon sues Amazon

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