IP CLAIMS!! Whoa!! You know what? The biggest threat for any Amazon seller is IP claims. If you're being a little ignorant on this issue, you'll have to lose your Seller account permanently!!
So let's get deeper into IP claims and clear all the doubts about them.
What is IP Claim?
Intellectual Property Claim which is often referred to as IP Claims is something that many Amazon sellers would face.
Someone can easily file an Intellectual Property (IP) Claim against one of the products you sell on Amazon. The seller will likely lose his/her selling privileges for that ASIN during an investigation, whether the IP claim is true or false.
Actually, there are three types of IP claims on Amazon!
A trademark is a distinctive sign that prevents customers from being confused about its source. It can be a word, a symbol, a design, or a combination. It does not mean you cannot sell a product if you are not the owner of the trademark.
However, the trademark owner might prohibit the use of the trademark, in which case you could be infringing on their rights. If you are unsure, you should always consult with a lawyer before listing your products on Amazon.
Counterfeiting is the illegal reproduction of a registered trademark or similar trademark on the packaging of a product.
A counterfeit trademark infringement would occur, for example, if you created your own Disney Frozen products but used the same trademark.
Original and creative works of authorship, such as films, books, paintings, songs, etc., are protected by copyright law. You usually own the copyright to a product image that you upload to an Amazon listing that you have taken yourself.
You may be infringing the rights of the other person if you use a photo from another source without their permission on a product detail page.
Patents provide legal protection for inventions and technological processes. In contrast to copyright, a patent protects a specific invention rather than creative work, such as a book or painting.
IP Claims Vs Brand Restriction - Know The Difference:
It is important to distinguish intellectual property claims from brand restrictions, even though they are sometimes confused.
If you want to sell on Amazon, you will be unable to sell certain products, categories, or brands, unless you become ungated.
You can still receive an IP claim even if Amazon says you are eligible to sell a certain product! Therefore, don't assume that you can simply tell Amazon, ‘I'm eligible to sell this, it will not affect me".
There is a bot that trawls listings on Amazon and flags up suspected IP claims to sellers on the flagged listings. Seller Central displays this information under Policy Compliance in the Account Health section.
Typically, this type of IP claim pertains to a potential trademark infringement where the bot has noticed an incorrectly spelled brand name on the listing. Some sellers misspell brands they do not have permission to list in order to get Amazon to let them list them!
In addition, trademark logo violations are suspected IP claims, though this is more difficult to remedy. In the absence of a resolution, the Amazon listing is likely to be suppressed. Regardless of whether the listing is fixed or not, the IP claim disappears from your account health after 180 days.
How you should respond to an IP claim?
Don't panic if an IP claim has been made against you. You will receive an email from Amazon notifying you that the listing has been removed as a result of a report of intellectual property infringement. You may lose selling privileges for that ASIN if they suppress the Buy Box.
If you want to find the IP Claims on your seller account, you can follow these steps.
Performance --> Account Health --> Product Policy --> Received Intellectual Property
Consider before jumping to conclusions or emailing Amazon in anger. Think about the reasons for a claim and who makes it.
You are not required to reply to a buyer who claims to own a brand for a particular product. Amazon must be contacted directly for any IP claims.
There are several options available if you receive a warning for infringement:
Reply to the notice with an explanation of why you did not list the product - it could be an error on Amazon's part!
If you do not see a reason to believe there is an intellectual property issue, ask the rights owner who filed the complaint to retract the complaint.
Make contact with Amazon and appeal the IP Claim; if Amazon asks for it, be ready to provide receipts to prove the authenticity of the purchase.
So better go with products that do not have IP Claims while selling on Amazon. Particularly, if you take up the Arbitrage model, IP Claims will be your biggest hurdle!
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