WHAT ARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS & HOW YOU CAN AVOID VIOLATING THEM
In a previous blog, we went over how you can avoid an Amazon account suspension. One of the ways mentioned was not abusing the reporting of intellectual property rights infringements.
We’ll take the opportunity with this blog post to delve a little deeper into exactly what that means and how you can avoid being guilty of that infringement yourself. Amazon has strict rules, regulations, and policies when it comes to intellectual properties that cover everything from copyrights and trademarks to patents.
Copyrights make sure that anyone other than the creator(s) of original works such as books, movies, or songs have to consult or seek the permission of the copyright holder before using that work.
If you use/sell copyrighted material without permission or paying the copyright holder, you’re going to be facing legal trouble.
Trademarks work more with words, symbols or designs that establish a company’s brand. Think of Nike’s “swoosh” or Adidas’ or Apple’s logos.
To make or sell a product not officially from these companies but still use those brands’ respective symbols would violate their trademark and create a whole slew of trouble for both you and them. Consumers see these symbols and hold the product to the same line of quality that the company is known for, and if the product should prove inferior, then the company will more often than not take the blame.
Trademarks serve as a protection for both the company and the customer in this way.
Patents on the other hand focus more on the production and sale of a specific invention. The patent holder is the only person/company who can legally produce and/or sell that invention. This is a big one to avoid violating on Amazon; unauthorized production is typically halted on patented products before they hit the market. But if Amazon catches you selling a patented product and infringing in this way, you could face a full-blown account termination.
Taking these three concepts into consideration, you can see the danger in, understand a little more clearly exactly what it means to, and therefore avoid violating intellectual property rights. This will help you to keep your business on the up-and-up and also help you avoid filing unnecessary or improper claims.
Violation on Amazon
But what action can you take if you’ve been reported or accused of this kind of violation? If Amazon’s notified you of a violation and a removal of the trouble product, there are a few things you can do.
The first step you can take is to reach out to the property owner and try to smooth things over. If a deal is made or an agreement reached, they can then contact Amazon and retract their report.
If you believe it’s a mistake, another option is to go directly to Amazon and provide a sound basis for your claim of the authenticity of your product.
But if your shop has multiple accusations leveled against it, then you’ll have to appeal to Amazon to keep your account from facing a suspension, calling for much stronger proof of authenticity such as an invoice, Order ID, or even a letter of authorization from the property owner.
If your Amazon account does end up being suspended, don’t worry; it doesn’t mean the end. As mentioned earlier, you can check out our blog on the topic of Amazon Suspensions to see exactly how you can appeal to Amazon to help get your account reinstated and get back into the game!
For more information on selling on Amazon and tips to help you succeed, check out our post on Selling on Online Marketplaces.
This article in no way constitutes legal advice and is simply meant to give general and basic information on the given topic. A legal expert should still be consulted and followed when it comes to handling these and other legal matters with regards to you business.