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There have been a number of false infringement claims on Amazon lately. But what is a false infringement claim, exactly?

What is a false Amazon infringement claim?

A false infringement claim occurs when a competitor or angry customer submits a form on Amazon, claiming that you are either selling a counterfeit product or selling a patented product without the permission of the patent owner.

As long as the person fills out the form fully and correctly according to Amazon, Amazon can then pull down your listing and bar you from selling your product. In the worst-case scenario, Amazon can actually ban you from selling on the website. Unless you or your lawyer can prove that this infringement claim is actually false, Amazon will consider this claim both valid and actionable.

Because Amazon often does not typically look into the validity of infringement claims, there are more and more abusers of these false infringement claims. Amazon is not usually worried about the verification process, and investigators tend to just check the form to make sure that all of the content has been filled out, take down the listings and send the notifications.

Amazon does not take any liability for identifying whether an infringement claim is true or false, because they receive so many form submissions per day. Rather than risk missing a report of a fake product or counterfeit item, they instead err on the aggressive side and simply make sure the form is filled out correctly then take down the listing. Unfortunately, it is your responsibility as the seller to chase down the person who made the infringement claim and show Amazon that the allegations are false.

Counterfeit infringement versus rights owner infringement

false infringement claims on Amazon

There are various forms of infringement claims submitted to Amazon, so it is crucial to understand the difference between counterfeit infringement and rights owner infringement.

When someone accuses you of counterfeit infringement, or, in other words, selling a counterfeit product, Amazon will ask you for supply chain documentation. You will then need to provide a large amount of documentation, including a letter from your distributor showing where they sourced their items.

When a competitor or angry customer accuses you of rights owner infringement, Amazon will immediately remove the listing first. They will then need to hear from the rights owner to reinstate your listing. Rights owner infringement claims are typically associated with patent, copyright or trademark infringement.

Copyright infringement involves using another person’s images or text without the proper authorization to use it on Amazon. Product listings and physical products and packaging cannot include copyrighted images or content unless you have the copyright owner’s explicit authorization. If someone submits a form indicating that you have committed copyright infringement, Amazon will remove your listing at the very least and suspend your account if you have enough infringement claims against you.

Trademark infringement involves symbols or words registered to a specific company or product that may not be used or reproduced without authorization. Some trademark infringement claims can result in account suspension if the brand is big enough, but you will typically get a warning and the listing removed.

What to do if you receive a false rights owner infringement claim

So what can you do as a seller if you receive a false rights owner infringement claim and Amazon takes your listing down? What can you do to reduce the chance that Amazon will take down your entire account? There are a number of different steps you can take to resolve the issue and help ensure that Amazon will not take down your whole account.

  • Contact the alleged rights owner. Try contacting the alleged rights owner on the off chance that they respond to you with helpful information. There is a chance that you can resolve the issue with the alleged rights owner and they will contact Amazon to retract the form. This is the best possible scenario because you can then fix the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Hire a lawyer. Consider hiring an attorney who knows how to resolve rights owner disputes and deal with Amazon teams, especially if you are unable to contact the alleged rights owner. Ask the attorney to draft a letter on law firm letterhead to send to the rights owner party or the rights owner’s attorney to gauge their response. If there is no response, you can then contact Amazon and challenge their action with the help of your attorney.
  • Contact the real rights owner. Ask your supplier if they can give you the contact information for the real rights owner. The legitimate rights owner can then supply you with a letter of authorization or even contact Amazon for you. If the supplier will not give you the name of the rights owner, you can quickly search on the USPTO database to identify the rights owner and contact them.
  • Send a legal letter to Amazon Notice Teams. Use an attorney to email or send a legal letter to Amazon Notice Teams. Take note of whether Amazon is responsive or if they ignore you and your lawyer. Make sure you’re using a lawyer who knows what they are doing and understands Amazon.
  • Initiate a legal escalation. If Amazon Notice Teams are ignoring or not responding to you and your legal team, you can take legal action to compel Amazon to dismiss the person reporting the false infringement claim. If you decide that you will simply appeal and never violate the party’s rights again, this could be only a short term solution. It could happen to you again and make it more difficult in the future to get your account back. Taking legal action will ensure that this does not happen to you again or if it does, Amazon will take you and your account more seriously.

So there you have it! Now you know all there is to know about false Amazon infringement claims and how to resolve them.

If you need any help with false Amazon infringement claims in Florida, consider contacting our legal team or calling the firm at (954) 507-4500.

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