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how to deal with illegal intellectual property claims
Every single individual and business that is selling on Amazon gets to deal with them: the illegal intellectual property claims from individuals and businesses that don’t want you to sell their product. Now, mind you, of course, there are individuals that DO violate intellectual properties but this post is not about those losers. This is all about, mostly companies, that are using intellectual property claims to scare away the new sellers on the block or sellers that simply don’t know how the law works and get intimidated by the email of Amazon telling them that they are violating the rules.
Photo by Nick Youngson, courtesy of Alpha Stock Images under license CC BY-SA 3.0.
Again we want to stress here, that we have nothing against rightful claims. However, we are a company that is not violating any Amazon TOS rules or any US or other applicable laws. If you are of sane mind, you know that doing these things will bite you in the you know what in the end. Not our game.
Yet, we find that there are companies online and selling on Amazon (or having their brand on Amazon) that don’t care so much about the law and file an intellectual property claim with Amazon. Like that, they get your listing suspended/blocked and get Amazon to strike your account. Some people even lost their accounts like that.
What does the Law say?
We don’t want to make this post about the law. And the writer of this post is not a lawyer (so disclaimer here, I am NOT a lawyer), so you are warned up front. However, we want to say something that makes sense and clarifies what we mean with an illegal intellectual property claim.
There is a thing called the first sale doctrine. What that means is this: The first sale doctrine (which is codified in US law) provides “that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner.” You can read all about it here at the website of the Department of Justice of the USA.
In laymen’s terms, if you buy something from a manufacturer or brand owner and you want to sell it on Amazon, if it doesn’t violate the rules of Amazon and if you are not gated for that product, you are allowed to sell that product on Amazon. In that case, a brand owner or manufacturer that files an intellectual property claim with Amazon is violating the law. Period. (Again, disclaimer, not a lawyer here, but we can still read.)
So if you buy from a reputable distributor and you have an invoice, you should be totally fine and the strike on your account should disappear, right? Yeah, in an ideal world, yes. While Amazon support is usually pretty fast, when it comes to intellectual property claims, not so much. They really want to hear it from the horse’s mouth that the claim is invalid. In other words, you will have to convince the owner/brand/manufacturer that filed the complaint to withdraw the complaint and inform Amazon. And unfortunately, some only listen when you tell them you’ll sue them over their illegal claim.
If you want to know what a handling could be to get them to fall in line, register for free and watch a great video below. If you are registered already, read on!
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