False counterfeit complaints are when brands accuse sellers of selling counterfeit products when they are selling 100% genuine products.
When that occurs, the victimized sellers usually have at least 2 legal claims that they can use as leverage or use to sue in court: Defamation & Interference with Contract. We rep these sellers and use the claims to negotiate resolutions and we can and have started lawsuits against the brands making wrongful claims against Amazon sellers.
False counterfeit complaints asserted against AMZ sellers often result in the suspension of the seller’s account or Amazon listings, and the loss of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.
However, Amazon sellers have recourse under at least two legal claims:
1. Defamation or Defamation Per Se
The first legal claim that suspended Amazon sellers may have against a brand that made a false counterfeit complaint is defamation. Again, the laws surrounding defamation vary from state to state but using New York as an example, defamation is a false statement, published to a third party without privilege or authorization, with fault amounting to at least negligence, that caused special harm or defamation per se. Defamation Per Se is where the false accusation is that you engaged in a crime, like knowingly selling counterfeit goods.
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2. Tortious Interference with Contract
The second legal claim suspended Amazon sellers have when brands make false complaints that you sold counterfeit goods is tortious interference with contract.
While the law regarding tortious interference varies between states, the idea is the same as New York law. A claim for tortious interference is established when a brand interferes with an Amazon seller’s contract with Amazon with a false complaint that the seller sold counterfeit products.
The legalese for claims of tortious interference with contract is that the claim is established when “a valid contract existed which a third party knew about, the third party intentionally and improperly procured the breach of the contract, and the breach resulted in damage to the plaintiff.”
Amazon Sellers Fighting Back When Falsely Accused of Selling Counterfeit Products
Big brands continue to abuse Amazon’s intellectual property system. Their counterfeit complaints against Amazon sellers are often baseless because AMZ sellers are usually selling genuine products. They’re NOT selling counterfeit goods.
The basic factors pertaining to suspended Amazon sellers who receive false complaints of selling counterfeits:
False Statement: The false counterfeit complaint sent to Amazon is the false statement described in the law.
Publication: when a brand sends a false statement to Amazon via email, letter or Amazon’s submission form, that qualifies as a publication of the false accusation.
Negligent: When the brand fails to check your products and confirm that you were selling genuine products and not counterfeit, that qualifies the negligent element of the case.
Harm to the AMZ seller: the suspension of your account, loss of sales & diminished value of your business qualifies as harm.
When we break down elements of legal claims for suspended sellers who receive false complaints of selling counterfeit products, they are as follows:
A valid contract: This is your contract to sell on Amazon.com.
3rd party / brand intentionally breaches contract, issues a complaint against your account & because of the counterfeit complaint, AMZ suspends you.
Third party / the brand knew you were selling on Amazon.
Damages: You lost sales and / or the value of your Amazon business was diminished because of the false counterfeit complaint asserted against you.
Rosenbaum, Famularo & Segall, PC Hires Litigation Powerhouse Neil Flynn to Strengthen its Legal Counsel Services to Amazon Sellers
With over 20 years of experience in state & federal courts, Neil Flynn will guide a formidable team of litigators to better serve sellers & stakeholders in all aspects of ecommerce. Under his leadership, the firm will continue to protect its clients’ interests at every stage of intellectual property disputes: from pre-suit settlement discussions to mediation, arbitration and, if necessary, through litigation, spanning inception through trial. Flynn promises to bring his personal and professional credo of ‘pride, poise and commitment’ to all cases regardless of their size or complexity. The Columbia University & Fordham University Law School graduate has been handling trials & appeals in state & federal courts, as well as alternative dispute forums since 1997.
“It was always my goal from before I even started law school to become a trial attorney. That’s the aspect of the law that I really find the most rewarding,” said Flynn.
After graduating law school, Flynn joined a respected New York City firm representing parties on both sides of complex, high value commercial, real estate, employment, insurance coverage, business tort, and intellectual property matters, from inception through resolution. Over the next two decades, Flynn honed his craft as a litigator by litigating thousands of matters and trying over a hundred cases. Prior to joining Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., he spent several years in a solo practice serving as a trial counsel to other attorneys in need of his skills and experience.
Flynn advises sellers facing litigation to quickly get representation from Rosenbaum Famularo’s attorneys who have handled thousands of claims involving Amazon and other platforms. He cautions that if left unaddressed, a temporary restraining order can quickly be converted to a permanent injunction.
Recovering Damages from Brands that File False Counterfeit Complaints Against You
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