Patent vs Copyright Infringement: It is always important to check the type of complaint you receive. An individual just came to us because they received a patent infringement complaint from a rights owner.
A patent is a license issued by the government. The license states that the one with the patent is the only person allowed to sell the product. This license can apply to specific technology, design, or to an entire product.
The 2 types of patents that are usually an issue on the Amazon platform are:
utility patents and design patents.
The utility patent applies to the function of a product. Basically, this means what the product does. Even if your product does not look the same as the patented invention, if it performs the same function, or does the same thing, then it’s considered to be infringing on that patent. It is much more difficult to prove infringement with design patents.
Design patents are only considered to be infringed upon if our clients’ design is so similar to the design of the patent that a consumer who is familiar with what is called the “prior art” is unable to distinguish between the products and choose what product they are familiar with.
During our investigation, we reached out to the complainant in search of a basis for their complaint. When we investigated the issue, it turned out that this looked to be more of a copyright issue, not a patent issue.
If an alleged violation is not properly reported to Amazon, it does become an easier matter to appeal.
For Amazon sellers, copyright law generally deals with the use of someone else’s images or verbiage. Copyright infringement is violating an owner’s exclusive rights to a work of art, granted by the Federal Copyright Act, by the use of protected works without permission. The use of copyrighted works is unauthorized unless consent is given by the owner. To demonstrate a valid copyright infringement claim, a plaintiff must show ownership of a copyright and show that the defendant has copied elements of the work that are original.
When we got further into the dispute, more of the basis provided by the complainant pertained to copyright, not patent. We pointed out this error and identified how the complainant filed incorrectly. Ultimately, the complainant retracted the complaint based on this error. We were able to get this complaint removed from our client’s account. Amazon reinstated our client’s account and removed everything off their account health.