Amazon Trademark Infringement
Trademark Infringement is a general problem faced by business owners especially when you are using e-commerce platforms for example Amazon. Amazon marketplace is an ordinary e-commerce platform on which many small businesses have flourished or grown.
Business owners can use the giant Amazon client base and brand loyalty, but some startups might have to deal with copyright issues. In this blog, we are going to inform you how to file a trademark infringement on Amazon and ways to avoid it.
What is Trademark Infringement?
To be able to appeal a trademark infringement on Amazon, you require take a step back and know the basics. Also, before you answer to an Amazon trademark infringement complaint, you need to do an earlier research to guarantee that your complaint isn’t unjustifiable, and Amazon won’t file a lawsuit for harassment.
Amazon has a unique trademark infringement department that looks into such issues and helps to resolve them. A trademark is the signature design or stamp of a company confirming that it’s a product of that company. Amazon has a specific trademark which cannot be reproduced or used unless authorization has been granted.
Trademark infringement stands for an illegal use of that symbol for your products or services without suitable authorization.
Furthermore, this includes using an identical mark for products which are also similar. For example, the big brands such as Adidas or Gucci are reproduced as “Adibas” and “Gucci” respectively.
Laws Regarding Trademark Infringement
The government of each country has specific laws devoted towards the infringer based on the proof produced. In each country it is a punishable offence and the company is responsible to a fine:
- In the US, if a company finds proof that you used their trademark without permission, you have to attend civil court sessions.
- If your company is a part of the Paris convention, then your company is responsible to a fine even when your mark is completely different.
- If the owner is not able to establish infringement issues, another party has the authority to do so in some countries.
Talking about the customers, they always answer on the symbol or the mark that they notice on the product. People buying manufactured goods via Amazon always look for that trademark. It is a symbol of quality and trust.
When you are using the Amazon e-commerce platform, you need to get appropriate authorization from Amazon.
- Or else, you are not supposed to use their trademark or a similar one according to the Lanham Act.
- The Act also orders that the third party be responsible to civil action.
- The Lanham Act says that the use of alike mark for a similar product generates confusion in the consumer’s mind. It is not fine for Amazon and the infringer too.
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Basis of Amazon Trademark Complaint
There are some factors which are checked in something called “the Polaroid test”. Based on these factors, the court determines the measure of confusion created by the third-party seller and the degree of similarity. These factors are also recognized as DuPont factors.
- The stability of the trademark and its truthfulness within people.
- Comparison between uses of the trademark.
- Similarity of goods sold by Amazon and the supplier.
- The infringer’s causes for using the Amazon’s symbol.
- Quality of the goods sold by the supplier if they are new or second-hand.
- If the product range will be enlarged.
- The marketing sources used by the company.
- Evidence of confusion among consumers.
How to Report Trademark Infringement on Amazon?
If you find yourself getting a notice from trademark infringement layer or Amazon itself, you require to find out a way to get out of the problem efficiently without damage to your status.
We will provide step-by-step instructions on taking action against trademark infringement on Amazon. These steps have been collected from reputed companies which faced similar problems. You might face terrible consequences if you do not answer suitably. How you overcome this depends on two things. Firstly, the amount of proof collected against your company, and secondly, the method it’s handled. Also, the answer given has some effect.
Step 1: Receiving a notice and contacting the owner
You will recognize that you have infringed once you get an Amazon trademark infringement letter from an attorney or Amazon official via email. This would occur when other companies report trademark infringement to Amazon.
The letter in the form of a warning will be sent telling the causes of the complaint and the basis of the same. The way you answer to it (whether you accept it and would like to change it or whether you want to defend yourself in the court) shows whether you’ll succeed.
Always memorize that it is an official notice and is bound by time. You do not desire the FBA to be involved. You may also attempt to contact the rightful owners, and if possible, resolve the issue. It is suitable to inquire them to retract the case. You require to answer proficiently (in a lawful manner) using suitable wording within the given time.
It is significant to know how to draw up a letter to Amazon to converse about a violation of rights:
- Primary, you must contact the help/contact centre reporting your problem.
- The letter is an official and legal letter written to the party suing you, so make sure you use words properly.
- Mention all the details appropriately about the product and also provide evidence.
- Also, provide your suitable contact information.
- Furthermore, you might get a lawyer’s help and signature in the letter.
Step 2: Counter measures and get an attorney
If your trademark has been registered under federal trademark law, you are safe.
- In such case, you must go ahead with a defense lawyer. However, you must take precautions and do suitable research with your defense lawyer, and have a strong case in your favor.
- At this point, what you can do is get a defense lawyer (who is familiar with usage of the Amazon marketplace) and get your trademark tested (according to the Polaroid test) before you really reach the court.
Step 3: Court sessions
During the court sessions, you will notice the two parties fighting based on evidence and statements.
Also, the records of both companies (both positive and negative) will be accessible in the court. You require to stay calm and let the attorneys and judges do their job. Just make sure that all the presented documents and proof are original and true.
Step 4: Types of decisions taken at the court
Based on the proof provided and the documents of the company, a decision will be taken by the company. Also, those DuPont factors play a main role in the consequence. It might take some time for the court to come to a decision, but mostly the time taken for such business connected cases is short.
Step 5: If you appeal is responsible
If you actually infringed the Amazon trademark without inquiring for permission, and do not present sufficient proof at the court, then you accept your mistake and remove the alike product or change the logo of your company and begin fresh.
This is one of the most terrible situations. It is better if you admit if found blameworthy at the court, instead of appealing again at a higher level. Such a decision is taken when you as a supplier are going to cause harm to Amazon’s sales.
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Step 6: Not guilty
If you are not blameworthy, then the court will take a decision against the person who appealed for it. In such circumstances you appeal as “not guilty of trademark infringement” and Amazon might be responsible to paying a fine.
You do not claim liability for the same. This will happen when the proof produced are not sufficient, or the there is no confusion in the consumer’s mind regarding the trademark of Amazon and the third party seller.
Example of Trademark Infringement
We will provide you with some example of Amazon seller trademark infringement on Amazon that will help you to know what we are talking about.
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Sample Case: This is a genuine example regarding trademark infringement directed towards David (a seller for 15 years on Amazon). The seller has been purchasing beauty products from a local store and is selling them on Amazon without suitable authorization from the local shop. Amazon sent numerous notices regarding the same and said that “Sellers on Amazon.com are not permitted to create listing or detail pages that infringe trademark rights”.
The seller is not producing the products and does not possess a suitable authorization to use the trademark. If the legal owner (the local shop) determines to take their complaint back, they must send another notice to Amazon. This is an example when the seller in reality violated the rules and now is responsible to remove the products or the seller’s selling rights will be taken away from the Amazon marketplace.
As mentioned, Amazon is a rising marketplace. According to recent statistics, the percentage of third-party seller’s share is approximately 53% in 2018. This percentage has seen a growth from 2007 to 2013 from 26% to 40%. The large number of sellers leads to the fact that there will be disputes between them. Everyone cannot sell a unique product and thus trademark infringement can be seen as a general problem. Furthermore, more than half of the new sellers join the Amazon marketplace each year.
If you have received a notice regarding violation of trademark on Amazon, feel free to contact. Their knowledgeable professionals can get you out of this in no time without harm to your reputation. We will help you from the beginning with all the steps from getting a notice, to court sessions.
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