Amazon Sellers’ News 9/20/19 with CJ Rosenbaum
The breaking news is that there are more and more suspensions this week than we’ve seen, probably, in a good year, year and a half.
We don’t know if Amazon has lowered the bar in light of the new Terms of Service that was imposed upon you on August 16th.
The straw that breaks the camel’s back is just coming more often than we’ve seen in a long time. If you have several rights owner complaints against your account, start dealing with them right now.
If you’re not yet suspended, there’s no reason you have to wait. Contact the complainant, hire us to contact the complainant. Explain why you’re not violating anyone’s intellectual property rights, and get those complaints withdrawn before your account goes down.
VORYS is infamous for sending out thousands of letters to sellers, claiming all sorts of baseless claims. The problem is, once in a while, in their letters, there’s actually a valid claim against a seller. They claim you need to worry about most that we’ve seen after reviewing, probably dozens of letters from VORYS, is intentional interference with contract. What that means is VORYS has set you up, they’ve identified brands that have exclusive authorization agreements, let you know about those distribution agreements. Then, when you sell again, they make a claim against you for intentionally interfering with that contract.
If you’re a private label seller and you don’t have a trademark, apply for a trademark today. Go to USPTO.gov and fill out the form yourself. You do not need a lawyer. If you’re uncomfortable, you can hire really any intellectual property lawyer to apply for it for you. You can clearly do it yourself. If you need some guidance, again, check out our blog, run a search. Getting your own trademark is easy. Also, if you haven’t yet applied, there’s a nine-month delay, give or take, in actually getting a trademark approved in the United States. If you want a trademark right now, I strongly suggest you visit a website called Empire Flippers. They are the only business broker that I suggest, anywhere in the world. They sell online businesses, they’re a broker for online businesses. They have a fantastic vetting process that I stand behind 1000%. Many of the businesses that they are selling come along with trademarks or IP rights. If you are selling right now, and you don’t have a trademark and you want to get it quickly, check out EmpireFlippers.com.
Inauthentic suspensions are still the number one cause of accounts and listings going down. Inauthentic means that Amazon wants to see your invoices from where you sourced your products from. What I want you to do is, I want you to know what you should not have on your invoices, what you should not do before you submit to Amazon. Number one, don’t redact anything. Don’t redact the price, don’t redact the quantity, even though it’s posted all over online that you may do so. I know from cross-examining Amazon’s witnesses, they hold that against you. What you should also not have on your invoices is any handwriting where it doesn’t apply. If there’s a lien for someone to put a signature, then it makes sense. Just errant handwriting on your invoices, Amazon looks at that as a negative. Also, what I don’t want to see on your invoices are different names or addresses. Everything should match, as much as possible. Your account name, your business name, your address, your phone number, your website, as much as possible, make everything match.
GBC in Chicago, VORYS who does occasionally, or rarely start a lawsuit, Voight, Gaffigan, these are all lawyers who seem to specialize in suing Amazon sellers. If you are sued by any one of these law firms, anywhere in the country, please contact us. We have dealt with anyone of these law firms, and we can absolutely give you some guidance on how you should address it.