When brands try to protect their prices, we see intellectual property complaints come in waves.
Often, the complaints occur when a company has recently gotten their IP registered and then try to enforce it all at once. Amazon’s Brand Registry 2.0 makes it very easy to assert complaints against multiple sellers. Some waves of IP complaints are sparked by newly approved marks or design patents. It is very rare that there is only one seller facing this issue; most times, sellers get caught up in a very broad net. If this happens to you, start gathering your receipts and invoices from wherever you sourced your products to prove your products are genuine.
Sellers should regularly do a search to find out which brands are stepping up their complaints. You should be aware of what categories you are selling in and who the major players are; some brands are more aggressive than others when it comes to IP claims. A significant portion of the Brand v Seller litigation is in Chicago. ASL has resolved numerous claims against Amazon sellers in Chicago courts.
When dealing with any major brand, it is a good idea to reach out to them to see if you need authorization to sell their product; becoming brand authorized will reduce the likelihood of receiving an IP complaint. If you are selling genuine products in the United States, you do not need permission to sell – this is protected under the First Sale Doctrine.
Amazon Sellers Facing IP Complaints
If you get an IP complaint, lose a listing, or your account gets suspended, part of the persuasive writing in your Plan of Action may include the fact that not only have you provided the invoices tracking your products all the way to the manufacturer, but you have also applied for brand authorization.
When looking to invest a large amount of money in a brand that is notorious for knocking sellers out with IP complaints, you might want to get brand authorization in advance, especially if the brand is known for being aggressive.