Amazon Trademark Infringement | Guide for Sellers

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Amazon trademark infringement can be a confusing landscape for sellers trying to protect their brands, all while ensuring that they’re not violating any laws related to trademark policies.

The validity of this concern is highlighted by data from Statista. The US seized counterfeit watches and jewelry valued at approximately $1.19 billion, and fake handbags and wallets nearing $973 million in 2021, underscoring the massive scale of Intellectual Property (IP) rights violations.

Value of products seized due to intellectual property rights infringement in the US (Source – Statista)
Value of products seized due to intellectual property rights infringement in the US (Source – Statista)

Below, we discuss the basics and strategies to navigate the complexities of trademark infringement on Amazon. From utilizing proactive tools to handling accusations, we’ll cover the essential steps every seller should know to safeguard their business.

 

What is Trademark Infringement on Amazon?

Trademark infringement occurs when one party―the infringer―uses a trademark that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party in connection with the sale or advertising of goods or services, in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods or services.

In the context of the marketplace, Amazon trademark infringement can undermine the integrity of the brand owner’s mark and mislead consumers.

Here are a few examples of typical trademark violations on Amazon:

  • Unauthorized Use of a Registered Trademark. A seller might use a well-known brand’s logo or name on their product listings without permission, leading buyers to believe that the merchandise is produced or endorsed by the brand owner.
  • Sale of Counterfeit Goods. This includes listings that offer imitation products under a brand’s name. For instance, a seller might list fake luxury watches that bear the logo of a prestigious brand, but the products are neither manufactured nor approved by the brand itself.
  • Misleading Brand Associations. A seller could use a brand’s name in a product listing to imply that their product is compatible with or similar to products of a well-known brand without proper authorization.

 

Consequences of Trademark Infringement for Sellers

Information from the US Department of State reveals that IP-intensive industries account for 38% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and more than half of the merchandise exports.

IP & the US Economy (Source – US Department of State)
IP & the US Economy (Source – US Department of State)

These numbers highlight why trademark infringement is taken so seriously. For sellers, Amazon trademark infringement can lead to severe repercussions.

Infringing on another’s trademark can expose a seller to various legal actions. These may include:

  • Cease and desist letters
  • Lawsuits
  • Demands for financial compensation for damages

 

Legal battles can be costly and time-consuming, potentially draining resources that could otherwise be used to grow your business.

Amazon takes its copyright, trademark, and patent policies very seriously. That said, sellers found guilty of Amazon trademark infringement might face immediate account suspension or termination, which can abruptly halt all marketplace activities.

 

Amazon’s Brand Protections Tools

The marketplace provides several brand protection tools designed to help prevent violations against the Amazon trademark infringement policy

Image 3. Amazon’s brand protection tools
Image 3. Amazon’s brand protection tools

Along with programs put in place to protect both sellers and customers, like seller identity verification and brand gating, here are some of the key tools offered by Amazon focused on brand protection:

 

Amazon Brand Registry

Amazon Brand Registry is the foundation for all other brand protection tools designed to prevent Amazon trademark infringement. It helps brand owners protect their intellectual property and provides them with powerful tools to influence how their products are presented on Amazon.

 

Transparency 

Amazon Transparency is a product serialization service that helps prevent counterfeit versions of products from reaching customers. Each unit is given a unique code that must be verified as authentic at Amazon’s fulfillment centers before being shipped, helping prevent Amazon trademark infringement.

 

Project Zero

This program empowers brand owners to remove counterfeit listings themselves using Amazon’s automated protections and counterfeit removal processes. 

Project Zero combines Amazon’s advanced machine learning capabilities with the detailed knowledge that brands have of their own intellectual property to detect and remove counterfeits.

 

IP Accelerator

This tool connects brands with a curated network of IP law firms that provide high-quality trademark registration services at competitive rates. It helps brands secure their intellectual property rights quickly and gain access to brand protection tools in Amazon’s stores.

 

Counterfeit Crimes Unit

A global team that works to stop counterfeit products at their source. This unit investigates, goes after, and brings to justice counterfeiters attempting to list their products on Amazon.

Amazon’s brand protection programs, according to trademark registration
Amazon’s brand protection programs, according to trademark registration

How Does Amazon Brand Registry Work?

Amazon Brand Registry, along with the platform’s strict policies prohibiting the sale of counterfeit goods, helps avoid Amazon trademark infringement, counterfeit crimes, and even seller scams.

Here’s how it works:

 

Eligibility and Enrollment

Brand owners must have a registered trademark in each country where they wish to enroll. This trademark must appear on the products or packaging. 

The application process involves providing Amazon with information about the brand, such as the trademark registration number, and verifying that you are the rights owner or the authorized agent.

 

Enhanced Brand Content

Once enrolled, brand owners can use tools like A+ Content to enhance their product descriptions with rich text and images. This helps differentiate their products and improves customer experience by providing detailed product information and storytelling.

 

Brand Protection

The marketplace uses information provided during enrollment to implement proactive measures to protect the registered brand and avoid trademark infringement on Amazon. This includes:

  • Automated protections. Amazon scans over 5 billion daily listing update attempts to look for potential Amazon trademark infringement on your brand.
  • Search tools. Brand owners gain access to powerful search tools that allow them to find and report potential infringements through text or image searches.
  • Legal support and rights protection. Amazon provides a streamlined process to report infringements, which could include counterfeiting, misuse of the brand logo, or misuse of the trademarked name.

 

Control Over Product Listings

Brand Registry gives owners more influence over product listings that use their brand name, ensuring that the information is accurate and consistent with how they want to represent their brand.

 

Access to Marketing Tools

Registered brands can access additional marketing tools such as Sponsored Brands ads, Amazon Stores, and insights into brand performance that help drive customer engagement and brand loyalty.

 

How to Report Trademark Infringement on Amazon

If you encounter a case of trademark infringement on Amazon, it is crucial to address it promptly to protect your brand and ensure the integrity of the marketplace. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to report trademark infringement on Amazon:

 

1. Access the Report Infringement Form

Go to Amazon’s official website and find the Report a Violation page within the Amazon Brand Registry services. This is where you can initiate your complaint.

 

2. Fill Out the Form

You will need to provide specific details about the Amazon trademark infringement. This includes your trademark registration number and detailed information about the infringement. 

If you’re wondering what to write when reporting trademark infringement, it’s best to keep it simple and clearly describe how the product or listing violates your trademark rights.

 

3. Documentation and Evidence

Upload any relevant evidence that supports your claim. For example: photographs, screenshots of the infringing listing, and a direct comparison with your genuine products. Be precise and ensure that your documentation clearly shows how your trademark has been infringed.

 

4. Submit the Form

After filling out the form and attaching all necessary documents, review your submission to ensure all provided information is accurate and complete. Submit the form for review of trademark infringement Amazon.

 

5. Follow-Up

After you report a violation, Amazon may contact you for further information or clarification. Keep track of your report and maintain communication with Amazon’s team as they process your claim.

Additionally, if you have a MAP policy, ensure that the infringement report includes any violations of this policy as it relates to your trademark rights.

 

Best Practices for Amazon Sellers

Here are a few tips for Amazon sellers to avoid Amazon trademark infringement and maintain compliance with the platform’s trademark policies:

  • Secure your brand by registering your trademark through the appropriate governmental body before listing your products on Amazon.
  • Once your trademark is registered, enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry to gain access to powerful tools that help protect your brand and intellectual property on Amazon.
  • Use Amazon’s tools provided through the Brand Registry to actively monitor your listings for any unauthorized use of your trademark or any misleading information that could confuse customers.
  • Stay informed about Amazon’s policies regarding trademarks and copyright to ensure your listings comply with all legal requirements.
  • If you discover an infringement of your trademark, respond swiftly to protect your rights by reporting the issue to Amazon.

 

 Understanding the rules, utilize Amazon’s Brand Registry, and actively engage in the protection of your intellectual property. In doing so, you can effectively deter potential Amazon trademark infringement.

 

Author

Carla Bauto DeñaCarla Bauto Deña is a journalist and content writer producing stories for traditional and digital media. She believes in empowering small businesses with the help of innovative solutions, such as e-commerce, digital marketing, and data analytics.

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