Amazon Webinar: CJ Rosenbaum with Online Sellers Resource
Intellectual Property Issues for Online Sellers with Skip McGrath: Online Seller’s Resource & Online Sellers’ News – Oldest & Largest eZine for Online Sellers
Amazon Webinar: CJ Rosenbaum with Online Sellers Resource
Join CJ Rosenbaum of Amazon Sellers Lawyer and Skip McGrath of Online Sellers Resource as they discuss Intellectual Property Issues facing Amazon Sellers.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25TH 2018
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Skip McGrath of eBay and Amazon Sellers’ News joined CJ Rosenbaum of Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C. and AmazonSellersLawyer.com for a webinar to spread their knowledge in sellers’ intellectual property rights. McGrath is the owner of the oldest and largest eZine for online sellers. McGrath began selling in 1999 and stepped into the world of writing about it in 2000. McGrath started using Amazon a few years later. McGrath’s newsletter is a long-term success that has grown to reach over 40,000 readers.
McGrath spoke at length about intellectual property issues that his readers deal with, and the most popular issue is a familiar one for readers of this blog – suspensions over accusations of selling a fake product.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY VIOLATIONS
McGrath detailed a situation he has heard all too often. A seller buys a product, usually from a major retailer and they put it up for sale on eBay or Amazon. The brand owner of this product may then see the product and question how it got there if it isn’t from a group on their distribution list, and complain that the product is fake.
The frustration from these claims is palpable, especially because websites will put the burden of proof on the seller, despite the fact that many of these claims are completely baseless, according to Rosenbaum. Many of these complaints stem from a worry of competition on these online marketplaces, and ignore the seller’s right thanks to the For Sale Doctrine that states:
“an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner.”
These complaints, including some that are seller vs. seller complaints, can be a serious hit on someone’s bottom line, costing them upwards of thousands of dollars per month. Rosenbaum wants people stuck in these situations to know that there are remedies from taking that person to court to simply letting them know that they have a suit drawn up. But despite the veracity behind the complaint, it is important to still respond to each and address them.
eBay utilizes the Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), where companies state their intellectual property policies on their pages. Some issues that have led to claims include using trademarked product names in a sale listing without utilizing the ® or TM symbols in the name. Taking your own photos of the product you are selling, not a photo directly taken from the company’s listing is important as well.
Some people use these copyrighted photos trying to use clean, professional pictures to best sell their products, while McGrath notes that many programs and services out there will help spruce up your photos for online listing.
Amazon has their own standards for product photos that are important to note to evade IP issues. McGrath says that being sure to take pictures of products outside of the box is one good practice to keep up because of trademarked artwork leading to violations for many.
BEING PREPARED TO SELL
Both McGrath and Rosenbaum advocate for doing your own research before selling certain products, and you don’t have to go far to find the information you may need. Google is a helpful tool, and many times Google can bring you to seller forums with valuable information, opinions and tips straight from people who know the game best. Sometimes simply Googling the product or brand name + “rights owner” or “Amazon” can shed some light.
This research might guide you to find out certain brands and products are best to avoid for your own interests and efforts, while others may not stand to pull in a big profit.
A useful source is USPTO.gov, the United States Patent Office, where you can easily search for existing patents and trademarks.
For pictures, one particular product that McGrath talks about is the “light tent” that several companies offer to give those often-wanted white backgrounds without shadows and other distractions to product pictures.
IMPROVEMENTS TO A FLAWED SYSTEM
As eBay has been given more credit for their transparency on IP issues, Amazon has been making apparent strides to give more information to those affected. Rosenbaum says that he has heard from clients/readers that sellers have been given more information when receiving complaints and suspensions. Whether this will continue to develop into something greater is yet to be seen.
The problems that Amazon has come up short on in comparison to eBay and VeRO is a general lack of checks and balances. They lack a team that is doing the flagging for suspensions with legal training on IP matters, according to Rosenbaum, which leads to many of these baseless claims being taken as legitimate until they are fought.
In terms of trademark violations, many claims are baseless as well. Unless you are taking an item, placing a trademarked logo on something and selling it for yourself, you are typically not violating trademarks.
CONCLUSION – Amazon Webinar: CJ Rosenbaum with Online Sellers Resource
Rosenbaum and McGrath have extensive knowledge on the Internet’s top marketplaces, and despite the convenience and ease of shopping on them, there are ways to go for these sites to improve the seller experience. A less experienced seller could be prone to other sellers or brands try to file baseless claims to harm their business, and that’s why knowing your rights with IP is important. Claims are essential to respond to, legitimate or not, and many can be fought off easily.
On the other end, some claims can be legitimate, and avoiding them before you sell is essential. Google searches, websites like USPTO, forums and more can prepare you for what to expect when putting certain brands on the online market.
ABOUT CJ ROSENBAUM: https://www.amazonsellerslawyer.com/
CJ is the founding partner of the only full-service, international law firm focused on Amazon Sellers – Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.
The law firm behind AmazonSellersLawyer.com has a full time staff in New York, Europe and China.
CJ’s law firm focuses on 3 major areas for Amazon Sellers:
- Suspensions: Plans of Action for non-legal suspensions and obtaining withdrawals of intellectual property right complaints;
- Representing Sellers in arbitration against Amazon when Amazon refuses to reinstate accounts or seizes money or goods that belong to Amazon Sellers;
- Brand Protection for Private Label Sellers on all platforms.
CJ’s team of lawyers and college educated paralegals in New York conference every Plan of Action to identify what is anticipated to get the Amazon Seller back on Amazon as quickly as possible. Nothing is outsourced.
As a law firm, CJ’s team stands up for Sellers against baseless IP complaints and obtains withdrawals. When Amazon refuses to reinstate accounts or release sellers’ money, Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C. takes Amazon to arbitration. As Amazon Sellers pivot into creating their own private labels, CJ’s team helps Private Label Sellers with everything from filing their trademarks to protecting their brands from competitors.
ABOUT SKIP MCGRATH: http://www.skipmcgrath.com/
Skip McGrath and his wife Karen began selling on eBay in 1999 and expanded to selling on Amazon in 2006. Skip is the publisher of the eBay & Online Sellers News, the oldest and largest eZine for eBay and online sellers. He is also the author of 17 books about selling on eBay, Amazon and from websites, blogs and social media.
Prior to starting his eBay business, Skip had a 25-year career in international marketing and held executive positions at 2 Fortune 100 companies. He also started a number of businesses including a microwave component business in Silicon Valley and a highly successful antique shop in the Hudson Valley of New York.
Skip and his wife Karen still sell on eBay and Amazon every day and Skip is still writing and publishing newsletters, books and blogs at the Online Sellers Resource.