Merchandise Bearing “Down the Stretch They Come” Kentucky Derby Phrase Gets Amazon Sued

What are the odds that this lawsuit gets settled? 2-1. Dave Johnson, a horse racing and Kentucky Derby announcer, is suing Amazon claiming it is selling merchandise with his AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME trademark without permission.

Unlicensed merchandise for sale on Amazon.

Dave Johnson is a long time horse racing announcer that most of us only hear once a year, at the Kentucky Derby. Johnson’s famous phrase, “and down the stretch they come” is his signature call that he uses as the horse race heads into the final turn. Johnson claims trademark rights to the phrase and has been very protective over it.

Johnson claims that Amazon has been selling some shoddy merchandise bearing his trademark without his authorization. From looking at the image to the right, I can see how this merch is not the Kentucky Derby winner of quality products. Open and shut case, right? Well you just stepped in some horse manure if you answered yes.

Here is the biggest issue and the subject of several outstanding lawsuit: is Amazon actually selling the products at issue? Amazon has argued that even though it can be found on their website and marketplace the actually seller of the product is a third party user of the website. Amazon laid the groundwork for this defense when it issued a statement on this case saying, in part, “[Amazon] requires selling partners to do the same when listing items for sale on Amazon. Any selling partner that has violated our policies will be held accountable.” Amazon claims they aren’t selling the merch but the selling partner is. This has been a very controversial possession considering Amazon facilitates the whole process and even ships the goods from its warehouses.

The odds are good that this will lead to some kind of settlement that allows for better policing on Amazon’s website but I wouldn’t expect Johnson’s recovery to be anywhere close to the grand prize winnings at the Kentucky Derby.