Amazon Patent Infringement Appeal Process

Rich Goldstein

Founder & Principal Patent Attorney

I know that one of the risks you may face from selling on Amazon is the probability that someone reports you for infringing on their patent. If you just started selling on Amazon, there is a possibility that you will experience this sometime. 

Through my years of selling products and having to deal with several appeal processes, I have discovered several angles that can be explored. I decided to combine my experience with comprehensive research.

My goal in this article is to detail exactly what constitutes patent infringement, how to handle a potential Amazon patent infringement case, and how to appeal such infringement reports. 

Amazon Patent Infringement Appeal Process

Amazon patent infringement refers to when sellers on the Amazon marketplace are accused of selling a product that allegedly infringes on an existing patent. This typically happens when the patent holder claims that a product being sold by an Amazon seller infringes on their patented inventions.

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Amazon has a strict approach toward infringement, and the consequences can go as far as having the product listings in question removed, or user accounts suspended. Therefore, sellers who want to succeed on the Amazon platform must truly understand what infringement on a patent is, and how to appeal these cases.

What Is Patent Infringement?

According to 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), patent infringement occurs when a party uses a product protected by a valid patent without authorization from the patent holder. In simpler terms, it involves the unauthorized use of a patented product by someone other than the patent holder. An infringement typically includes:

  • Manufacturing or producing a patented item
  • Selling or offering for sale a patented item 
  • Using a patented good for profit or gain
  • Importing a patented good

The patent in question must be valid and enforceable to be considered an infringement. In the United States, this means that the patent must be filed with and granted by the United States Patent and Attorney Office (USPTO). If you’re a seller on Amazon facing an infringement claim, a patent attorney can assist you with the appeal process.

Dealing With a Patent Infringement Case on Amazon

Amazon mostly acts as a third party to sellers on their platform, meaning that they are not directly selling the goods and can therefore not be held liable for infringement. However, they can still be accused of contributory patent infringement, which is why they need to take active steps to protect themselves. So, what do they do?

The moment they are notified that you may be infringing, they immediately send you a notice and may:

  • Order you to stop selling the product in question
  • Remove the listing from your page 
  • Suspend your account 
  • Hold on to your sales proceeds until the problem is resolved 
A brown box from Amazon on the floor

If this is the case, a good option may be to file an appeal to assert your innocence. This appeal has to be thorough, and well-written and should clearly state how you are not infringing on an existing patent. Patent attorneys typically have lots of professional experience drafting and filing appeals like this, and working with them may be the best option. 

How to Appeal an Amazon Patent Infringement 

Amazon infringement typically begins with a notification from the patent holder or Amazon. Once you get this notification, here are the steps to take:

Review the Infringement Claim

To enable you to prepare a strong appeal, you should carefully review the details of the infringement claim to ensure its validity. Begin by downloading a copy of the asserted patent and determine whether it is a design or utility patent

If it is a design patent, review the patent drawings and figures and compare them to the appearance of your product. If it is a utility patent, review the claims made and the scope of protection granted by the patent. You should also check the validity of the patent to confirm if it is still enforceable. 

If you find out that your product is indeed infringing, there are two things you can do. 

However, if you find out that your product is not infringing on the asserted patent, continue with the next steps. 

A person using a laptop on a table with some juice, phone and notebook on the side

Gather Evidence

After conducting a detailed comparison between your product and the asserted patent, highlight the key features that differentiate the latter from the former. You can also gather the following if you have access to them: 

  • Product documentation
  • Design details
  • Manufacturing information, or any other relevant data

All of these will serve as evidence to show why the product does not infringe on the asserted patent. 

Prepare a Persuasive Appeal

The next step is to create a well-structured and persuasive appeal that addresses each point raised in the infringement claim. Clearly explain why the product does not infringe on the patent while referring to the evidence you gathered that supports your position. 

Ensure that your appeal is clear and concise, and maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout. Finally, clearly express your desire for the reinstatement of your listing or account. Seek the assistance of a patent attorney to help create a persuasive appeal that leverages strong legal arguments.

Submit the Appeal

Finally, submit the appeal via the Account Health Dashboard and await Amazon’s response. If the claim is deemed invalid, Amazon may reinstate your listing and account. However, if the appeal is unsuccessful, Amazon may uphold the suspension, and you may need to take further action, such as modifying the product to reduce the risk of future infringement. 

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Related Questions

What Should I Do if I Receive an Infringement Claim on Amazon?

If you receive an infringement claim, the first step is to carefully review the details of the claim to understand the reasons for the allegation. Next, conduct research to support your position, and prepare a persuasive appeal that shows the claims are inaccurate and should be rejected. You should also consider seeking legal advice from a patent attorney.

How Long Does the Amazon Patent Infringement Appeal Process Take?

The duration of the appeal process can vary, depending on the complexity of the case. After submitting an appeal, Amazon typically takes time to review the case, investigate the evidence, and make a decision. Sellers should be patient and monitor their communication channels for updates from Amazon. 

Can I Continue Selling My Product On Amazon During the Appeal Process?

In many cases, Amazon may remove your listing or suspend your account during the investigation to prevent further sales of the allegedly infringing product. During this period, it is important to adhere to Amazon’s policies until the issue is resolved. Once the appeal is successful, you can resume selling the product on the platform.

Conclusion 

During the infringement appeal process, Amazon sellers need to act promptly and professionally to prevent further or permanent damage to their business. Seeking assistance from a patent attorney, especially if the infringement claim is complex, can significantly enhance the chances of a successful appeal. 

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