Sellers need to know about intellectual property law, especially if their Amazon account was suspended because of an IP complaint. The complaints that cause Amazon accounts / listings to be suspended are often referred to as rights owner complaints. Sellers accused of violating intellectual property rights should call an intellectual property lawyer at our firm for a consultation 1-877-9-SELLER about how we can help with your Amazon infringement appeal.
Intellectual property law can be broken down into 4 categories:
Amazon sellers can obtain international protection for their intellectual property in numerous ways. A seller can apply for a trademark in the United States and extend that protection through the World Intellectual Property Organization. In addition, sellers can obtain protection around the world by filing for protection in other countries.
Copyright law for Amazon sellers focuses mainly on images & verbiage. Sellers should never use photographs or images that they don’t own. Sellers shouldn’t copy & paste verbiage from anyone’s product & use it on their detail page.
Trademark law focuses on the use of logos & other marks. Private label sellers should file for trademark protection for their logo & the name of the brand they’re developing. In short, never take another person/company’s trademark & put it on your products.
Design patents have to do with how a product looks. Utility patents have to do with how a product functions. You should file for a design patent if you have a new design for an existing product. If you have made an entirely new invention, then you should file for a utility patent.
Trade dress pertains to the entire product which includes its shape, color, packaging, and all other factors that make it unique. Amazon sellers should not copy products if they want to avoid intellectual property right complaints.
For more info. on intellectual property law, call for a free consultation: 1-877-9-SELLER
You may be entitled to significant damages.
If you’re selling on Amazon & have been falsely accused of selling counterfeit products, WE want to talk to YOU.
Have you received an IP complaint & know your products are infringing?
There’s many ways we could resolve IP complaints. We’re experienced in resolving various kinds of intellectual property complaints on Amazon. Feel free to give us a call if you have a need for an Amazon infringement appeal.
If you've received an IP complaint & know your products are infringing, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell the product anymore. We have a couple of ways to resolve such infringements with rights owners:
One of the first ways we resolve these types of infringements is through a sell-through agreement.
What that means is you’ll be giving up a part of your profit to the rights owner in order to sell the rest of your inventory. By the time you finish selling your inventory, you agree to stop selling the product altogether. This allows you to get rid of your inventory, usually not at a loss. So lots of sellers are happy to resolve this issue by getting rid of their inventory.
A second way that we resolve infringements on Amazon.com is using a licensing agreement.
We contact rights owners & attempt to establish a licensing agreement based on things like royalty payments or a designated source of supply for your products. This is worked out during the negotiation process where you could obtain permission & authorization to continue to sell your products. By having this agreement, your products are not infringing.
Download our books on intellectual property law as it pertains to Amazon sellers:
Amazon Sellers’ Guide to Trademark Law
Amazon Sellers' Guide to Copyright Law
Guide to Chinese Intellectual Property Law
The Legal Process: If a trademark infringer is detected, what can be done?
The answer depends on the platform the seller is on, and in what specific ways the trademark was infringed upon.
Anthony’s Advice on an Amazon infringement appeal:
It should be stressed that, after you detect the presence of trademark infringement, it’s imperative that you retain the services of a practiced trademark attorney. Navigating the legal process is treacherous without proper knowledge of how to avoid its associated pitfalls and quagmires. An intellectual property lawyer will help guide you through the legal process.
After determining the nature of the infringement, the seller, through their intellectual property lawyer, will generally send a cease and desist letter.
This letter requests that the infringer refrain from further violating intellectual property rights. Generally, it notifies the infringer that if the offending products are not removed from the view of consumers, further legal action may follow.
If an Amazon merchant has fallen victim to infringement at the hands of another Amazon merchant, the seller’s attorney may file a take down request with Amazon. When Amazon complies with the take down request, infringers will often resume selling the infringing product under a different account.
If financially feasible, sellers who suffer infringement can seek redress in court.
Court cases where Amazon sellers faced intellectual property law issues:
There have been many situations where legal action was taken against Amazon for common law violations that caused damages to both sellers and buyers. These include: copyright infringement, breach of agreements with vendors, deceptive advertising practices and more.
If you’re an Amazon seller and want to learn about what courts have said in cases involving intellectual property law issues, we wrote the book on cases involving Amazon and Amazon sellers.
Regardless of the outcome of any particular case, these instances show that Amazon law is not above the law that we all must follow.
Our website provides legal documentation of these cases involving Amazon, along with the details of the case and whether Amazon won or lost. The Amazon Law Library sums up these cases to help each and every seller understand their rights when it comes to selling on Amazon. You can find an online law library of Amazon cases here.
Help! What do I do now that I've received a complaint on Amazon?
When it comes to intellectual property right complaints, the very first thing that you have to do, whether your account is down or not, is to have an intellectual property lawyer who knows both Amazon and intellectual property law do an evaluation to see whether you are or are not violating anybody’s intellectual property rights. We do that step within hours of being retained.
The next step is contacting the complainants, reaching out to whomever made that complaint against you, and negotiate for a retraction. If you violated their rights, you’re negotiating differently than if you did not violate their rights. If that person or company made a false counterfeit complaint, you have a ton of leverage to negotiate that retraction.
The third step, whether you receive that retraction or not, is getting information over to Amazon in a concise, persuasive manner to show either one, you didn’t violate anything, number two, you obtained a retraction, or three, they are absolutely ignoring you and abusing Amazon’s intellectual property complaint system.
Amazon sellers should be concerned about obtaining intellectual property protection where they are selling and sourcing their products.
For example, a seller who has a private label product produced in China but sold in the United States should obtain protection in both China and the USA.
Intellectual Property Lawyer Questions: What is copyrightable, and what is not?
Here’s a short list of some material that is NOT copyrightable:
- Ideas, methods, or systems.
If you’re referring to just an idea or a method, it is not copyrightable. A classic example is an invention. The reason why an invention is not copyrightable is because another form of intellectual property protects inventions and that is called patents.
- Names, titles, and short phrases.
Obvious reasons anyone uses a name or a short phrase, for example, there’s no copyright protection. I can’t copyright my name, my name is David. I can’t copyright someone else’s name or a short phrase like, Been there, done that.”
- Fonts and lettering.
So if you create a new font, generally, not copyrightable material. Blank forms, any sort of form, not copyrightable.
- Familiar signs and designs.
So, a shape, for example, a circle, square, any sort of sign that you see all the time, like a stop sign, not copyrightable material.
This is a short list, it’s not exhaustive, there’s always a lot of gray area with copyright. Call us if you have questions about intellectual property law: 1-877-9-SELLER.
Testimonials from sellers with intellectual property issues on Amazon:
We have hundreds of happy client reviews, many reinstatement successes in the realm of intellectual property law & Amazon infringement appeals.
After two months of negotiations with Amazon, we were able to resume sales successfully.
We recommend Amazon Sellers Lawyer to any sellers that runs into trouble with their account.