It can be extremely overwhelming for an Amazon Seller to receive numerous intellectual property (IP) complaints at one time. As the Amazon Seller’s volume increases, so do the amount of IP complaints they receive. It is important for Amazon Sellers to remain calm and focus on resolving each complaint with the rights owner.
Our firm recently represented a high volume Amazon Seller who received an Amazon account suspension do to a large number of IP complaints. This Amazon Seller had over thirty IP complaints filed against their account. Overwhelmed, this client submitted an impulsive and unsuccessful appeal to Amazon. Amazon instructed them to first resolve the issue with each rights owner before they will consider getting involved. Following the rejection of their appeal, the client came to our firm for assistance.
What does Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer do?
We began by breaking down and compiling a list of every complaint received. We then consolidated the complaints by complainant and categorized the type of complaint. This is an important process that needs to be done properly. Responses will vary depending on the type of complaint received, whether it be for Amazon copyright infringement, trademark infringement, or the sale of counterfeit goods. In addition to the legal claims asserted in these complaints, the complainant often improperly use the Amazon platform to enforce their Map agreements or selective distribution agreements. However, Amazon Sellers should be aware that Amazon strictly prohibits this.
“Amazon respects a manufacturer’s right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements for its products. However, violations of such agreements do not constitute intellectual property rights infringement. As the enforcement of these agreements is a matter between the manufacturer and the retailers, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in enforcement activities.” See https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement
The next step…
Next, we contacted the client to identify any ASINs they no longer sell. Agreeing to remove and no longer list the disputed ASINs is an almost certain way to resolve the issue. This is after all, the reason they issued the IP complaint. For these ASINs, we reached successful resolutions in that each complainant agreed to retract their Amazon complaint in exchange for the guarantee not to sell their self branded products. For the remaining complaints, we drafted legal responses, carefully identifying the issue, setting forth several legal defenses, while, when applicable, informing the complainants that Amazon is an improper method of asserting MAP and distribution agreements.
We continuously reached out to each complainant, followed up on a regular basis, and contacted the parent company of the non responsive emails to confirm if in fact the email was associated with their business. Following a week of non stop correspondence we resolved the issue with approximately twenty of the thirty complainants. We detailed these corrective measures in an appeal to Amazon’s Notice Dispute team, and shortly after, our client’s account was reinstated.
Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer Conclusion
Contacting each complainant may appear to be a tedious process, however, it has proven to be the most effective method of resolving a suspension due to intellectual property complaints. An Amazon Seller should always first attempt to resolve the issue with the complainant before appealing directly to Amazon. Amazon Sellers dealing in large volume, should take this advice when appealing Amazon seller suspension. In the event an Amazon Seller is unable to handle this process on their own, they should hire a litigation team who focuses on Amazon Sellers and the Amazon appeals process.