Amazon Sellers News 11/13/19 with CJ Rosenbaum: Amazon Business Verification, Increased Requests for Certifications & IP Complaints
Business verification has ramped up considerably for brand new sellers who are establishing their accounts and also for experienced sellers.
Business verification is part of the new TOS, your new contract with Amazon where not only new sellers have to satisfy Amazon’s requests for documents, but experienced sellers (even those with 5, 10 years of experience under their belt) you have to give Amazon documents. So if you’re a new seller, make sure you’re submitting documents where absolutely everything matches. And if you’re an experienced seller, keep your documents ready. For the dreaded request of a utility bill, if you do not pay your own utilities, make sure you have a copy of your lease or a rider to your lease that discusses how the utilities are provided by your landlord.
Increased requests by Amazon for certifications.
Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen Amazon request certifications for baby products, for products that include anything that can be construed as being medical in nature, either in the product description or any place on the detail page. If you use anything that sounds or smells or feels like a medical device, you can expect Amazon to ask you for a certification. And also while we haven’t seen them yet, this time last year, we saw a tremendous number of requests by Amazon to people/companies selling Christmas lights. Even those low voltage, solar-powered lights. If you are selling Christmas lights, just be prepared to show your certifications to Amazon.
When you respond to an IP complainant, the person or company that made the complaint, the email gets bounced back to you. This is a huge red flag that whoever made that complaint does not even own the intellectual property rights. What you need to do is go to uspto.gov and identify who actually owns the intellectual property rights. We are seeing more and more sellers make baseless complaints against other sellers and other dirty tricks. If the email gets bounced back, chances are, whoever made that complaint doesn’t own anything at all. I want you to take a screenshot and save that bounce back notice. I want you to take a screenshot of who actually owns the IP rights according to the USPTO and then I want you to write a concise plan of action to notice dispute at amazon.com. That’s how we handle bogus IP complaints. Also, do not be afraid, do not fear to assert your claims as leverage against anyone or any company that makes a baseless intellectual property right complaint.
If they have accused you of selling counterfeit products and you didn’t do it, that complainant has committed defamation, and also intentionally interfered with your contract with Amazon. These are two powerful causes of action that you can use as leverage against the complainant to get a retraction.