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How do I avoid Copyright Infringement on Amazon?

Mar 29

Intellectual property infringements are not amusing. Copyright infringement has become a widespread issue on Amazon, with both fake and valid complaints rising. If you're an Amazon seller, you're probably already aware that this is a major issue on the platform. The more popular you become on Amazon, greater likely you are to receive a notification from Amazon's message center informing you that you will be infringing on the copyright of another seller. If you don't delete your listing immediately, this Amazon Notice Infringement will infer or explicitly declare that lawsuit is pending. However, there is almost always a remedy, and managing concerns like this isn't rocket science.

Introduction to Amazon Copyright Infringement

Amazon patent and trademark infringement proceedings can aggravate suppliers and business owners. They will have a detrimental influence on your business regardless of the outcome. Amazon limits infringement and takes steps to safeguard intellectual property rights. The Amazon Brand Registration system is one such initiative that assists eligible brand owners in filing complaints against rogue selling, protecting their intellectual property rights, and preventing brand degradation.

You can register your goods with Amazon Brand Registry to preserve your intellectual property rights. Amazon has a feature that allows you to mark your items. Other categories of intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, and copyright, can also be registered. Amazon immediately detects and deletes content that infringes on your copyrights when you register. 

When selling on Amazon, keep the following in mind:

  • You must follow all applicable state, federal, and state ordinances. Only the items and listings are subject to Amazon's regulations.
  • You may not infringe on the intellectual property rights of other companies or brands.

Copyrights are required if you wish to add photographs in listings and items. If you're using someone else's photos, make sure you seek their permission first. If you don't, you're breaking copyright laws. If you don't follow the rules, you could face legal consequences or lose your selling privileges.

Intellectual property infringements are not amusing. However, there is almost always a workaround. And keeping track of your complaints isn't difficult. This is especially true now that Amazon has released the SIPV Dashboard.

So, let's take a glance at IP breaches on Amazon, namely copyright issues. We've developed a short guide chart for Amazon sellers who can't wrap their minds around copyright infringement, using feedback from several of our clients and friends in the ecommerce business.

For people in business and merchants, dealing with Amazon patent and copyright infringement proceedings is extremely irritating because, regardless of the verdict, these cases will inevitably slow down operations and negatively impact. Amazon can be very rigorous when it comes to trademark and copyright infringement, which is why they created the Brand Registry to identify qualifying brand owners and give them the authority to file a complaint in cases of product degradation, unscrupulous selling, and intellectual property rights violation.

Brand owners frequently register their registered trademarks with Amazon's Brand Registry to be recognized. This privilege grants them control over products bearing their brand name. Any merchant or retailer that wants to sell these unique items without the brand owners' permission could face Amazon trademark or copyright infringement charges. It is only your obligation as a brand owner to get your brand licensed and own patent rights for manufactured products. Be aware that if a patent-protected product is offered under a different brand, the situation changes.

White/private label manufacturing is a prevalent business technique on Amazon. Because most of the products are similar save for the brands, this move potentially causes much uncertainty in Amazon trademark and copyright infringement claims. This wiki article will go over some ideas and tactics for keeping your white labeling or private labeling firm free of Amazon trademark and copyright violation lawsuits.

Defending Against a Claim of Amazon Patent or Copyright Infringement

A company owner should follow Amazon's processes for filing a trademark or copyright infringement claim. The techniques, which include an online form that the business owner must complete and send to Amazon, are available on their website. The website responds as rapidly as feasible and will take action immediately if a brand or copyright violation claim is made, as the website respects intellectual property. It may even withhold a listing till the problem is resolved. On Amazon's page, you may learn more about the particular instructions.

If the company owner is a member of the Brand Registration section, they can utilize the program's submit a Violation (SAV) feature. The RAV tool isn't just for reporting Amazon intellectual property rights infringement; it may also be used to inform other types of abuses on Amazon. 

If you want to claim email, you may do this as far as you include the necessary information in the email:

  •  Digital or personal signature of the company owner 
  •  Description or link of the material claimed to be infringed upon 
  • Description or link of the material claimed to infringe on an original product somewhere on Amazon, whether it be the packaging, picture used, text on the product details, or anything else
  • Any additional information that will assist Amazon in resolving the issue, such as a personal or corporate address, contact details (phone number, email, etc.)
  • A statement under penalty of perjury stating that the disputed usage was not approved by you or your firm 
  • A statement under penalty of perjury stating that your statement is true

When it comes to picture restrictions and ownership of product detail pages, there are times when Amazon is unable to enforce infringement charges. Even if the firm is no longer operational, Amazon's product detail pages become permanent, rendering certain pages obsolete due to inactivity. Furthermore, by using copyrighted pictures or photos for the item details page, you immediately provide Amazon and its partners a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to access and publicity rights over the photo/image. Because of this, other merchants can utilize it in their place without infringing on Amazon's trademarks.

You can also report merchants and Amazon businesses who list things that don't match straight to Amazon by using the SAV tool if you're notified of them. If some of your copyrighted photographs have been used without your permission by other merchants, you can report them to Amazon or utilize the RAV tool if you're registered with the Brand Registration department.

Furthermore, Amazon does not intervene against IP violations from other regions for which a takedown request was made. For instance, if a trademark or copyright is licensed in the United Kingdom and you ask Amazon to investigate a violation of an Amazon patent in the United States, Amazon would most likely reject or ignore your complaint.

Whenever it comes to authorized dealers, Amazon respects selective rights while reserving the manufacturer's ability to engage distributors and MAP (minimum advertised price) agreements. Because these contracts are mostly between the producer and the seller, Amazon will not consider any violation a trademark or copyright infringement. For certain infractions, Amazon will not impose authority or give help.

Design and utility trademarks are notable exceptions. While Amazon is stringent about trademark use and copyrights, going after people who sell protected goods below a different brand is more difficult. When it comes to new product designs and other matters involving more sophisticated infringements, additional evidence is frequently required. It's becoming more difficult because, in the past, there were several misleading claims made solely to target competitors.

The dilemma of the First Sale Doctrine

The first sale theory, often known as the exhaustion principle, asserts that customers have the freedom to resale copyrighted works as soon as the rights holder sells them on the US market. Sellers can trade it without the owner's permission, as per the Criminal Resource Manual 1854.

The first sale doctrine, established at 17 USC 109, states that a person who intentionally buys a copy of protected content from the copyright holder acquires the authority to sell, display, or otherwise dispose of that copy, regardless of the copyright holder's interests. Yet, once the holder has given that copy, the authorization to distribute expires.

 (See 17 USC 109(a) and 17 USC 109(b) for more information (c). While the first sale doctrine seldom shields a convict who makes unauthorized copies of a protected work, it cannot be used as a defense in cases involving infringing reproduction. (According to the US Department of Justice))

Amazon sellers have used this rule to combat copyright infringement charges. The first sale requirement, though, isn't enough for Amazon. Amazon will not dismiss the IP rights claim provided that the rights owner pulls back the allegation and merchants provide acceptable invoices.

This concept holds that once a copyrighted product is sold on the market, the purchasers have the authority to resale it. This means that the original copyrighted work's creator does not need to notify the resale.

However, only one way to give Amazon a good reason to dismiss your appeal is to show Amazon accepted invoices or other transaction evidence that the material was truly purchased. Another alternative is to have the rights owner's complaint withdrawn.

The Condition Puzzle

It's a fallacy that labeling a product as Utilized (e.g., Like New) rather than NEW can protect you from IP infringement. Regardless matter the situation, Amazon issues infringement notifications. A seller's testimony concerning a complaint about a secondhand board game and one about a used book can be found here. Why? If you sell something in a region other than where you bought it, you may be breaking the law. It makes no difference if the item is new or old, and displaying your invoice won't help if you didn't purchase it locally.

Is it Time to Change Suppliers? There is no such thing as a magic bullet.

You may believe that moving to a different provider will protect you against suspensions. This, however, is not the case. Even if you don't sell anything anymore, you may still receive IP violation warnings for products you used to sell.

Because Amazon maintains note of all listings, there's a risk you'll be mentioned if there's a complaint. Return to the simplest resolutions, such as sending Amazon-approved invoices or rescinded complaints.

Shifting to a more dependable provider does not protect you from suspensions. IP infringement notifications on things you used to sell are still possible, even if you don't list them anymore. Because Amazon keeps track of the listings, yours will likely appear in a complaint.

  1. Restricted Items can ruin reputations

Some complaints concerning banned items may be related to intellectual property infringement. For example, when things are prohibited from trade between the United States. So, if your supplier offers restricted item feeds, take advantage of them. They'll clean up your merchandise for a nominal price.

On the other hand, the Performance Team only examines through IP complaints that are older than 180 days. They can't harm you if they're not included in the Account Fitness dashboard. In other words, if you have a complaint that is older than six months, you will not be suspended.

  1. The Information Provided by the Complainant Is Critical

It's not uncommon for Amazon to send out notifications without the complainant's contact information. The seller's chances of striking an agreement with the client are slim when Amazon denies this information. There's only one thing you can do if this occurs to you:

  1. Call the Notification Dispute team.
  2. As mandated by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim rule and Amazon policy, insist that they supply this information.
  3. Make it evident, though, that you are honest in your objectives.
  4. Lawyers and Solicitors Beware

When a legal representation files a complaint, they have very little to gain by dismissing the matter. They do, after all, charge for each interaction. The person they're representing, on the other hand, might be more cooperative. So, before you approach the lawyers, find out who owns the rights. Even if the accuser decides to recant the claim, you're still not out of the woods. Make sure they give their message to Amazon from the same address as the complaint was filed. If Amazon didn't send you one by default, you should try to acquire verification from the Notice Conflict team.

  1. Suspension = Money Lost

Amazon typically keeps all cash in the budget when an account is suspended due to IP complaints. You may wonder how long this will last. Forever! As a result, attempt to release payments as frequently as possible to avoid losing your hard-earned money due to baseless claims or accusations. It's not uncommon for opponents to make false claims, issue ambiguous cease-and-desist letters, or even create fictitious infringement claims. If this happens, the best thing you can do is expose them to Amazon as fast as you've made your payments.

    That's all there is to it when it comes to copyright infringement.