I know that one of the several challenges that Amazon sellers face is a potential patent infringement. If you’re just starting, you will likely realize this along the line. The right holder has two instant remedies – the first is to send a cease and desist letter and the second is to inform and report the patent infringement directly to Amazon.
Through my years of selling on Amazon, one thing I’ve learned is to avoid patent infringements at all costs. I’ve also learned how to successfully do this. So, I’ve decided to combine years of experience and lots of research to help you.
My goal in this article is to walk you through the process of how to check for patent infringement on Amazon and explain why you should absolutely check.
How to Check for Patent Infringement on Amazon
When selling on Amazon, it is critical to protect your intellectual property value. You also want to ensure that your product’s design is not too identical to anyone else’s. This is due to the serious repercussions of patent infringement. However, you will be surprised at how simple it is to infringe on someone else’s patent. Sellers must first grasp what it is and how to avoid it.
You should also recognize that you cannot claim ignorance if another vendor discovers you have infringed on their patent. In this scenario, reaching out to a patent attorney is recommended. The United States law gives the inventor three remedies:
- Claiming of damages
- Cost of court
You must fully comprehend and adhere to Amazon’s infringement policy. Here are the ways you can check for patent infringement on Amazon:
Order a Sample
If you find similar products on Amazon, consider getting a sample. You can find the patent numbers on the object or its packaging sometimes. Examine all product parts thoroughly, especially if it contains multiple pieces. Looking at the product closely can help you determine whether it is someone else’s concept or one you can sell.
Check Amazon Listings
Search on Amazon for items similar to what you wish to sell. If there are numerous comparable products, it is unlikely that it is patented. However, if there is just one, it may be patentable. Check out what other vendors are saying about their items. If a corporation has a patent on a product, it may be mentioned in the product description.
Visit the Company’s Website
Check if a company that utilizes the same design as your product has a patent. Browse their website to check whether they mention possessing a patent for their design. It is a simple approach to determine whether a product is patentable.
Check Google Patents or USPTO.gov
If you have a completely new design and are unsure whether it is already in use, consult Google Patents and the US Trademarks and Patents Office website. Google Patents contains patents from all over the world. You can search for and read full-text patents.
The official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office contains complete details for all registered trademarks and patents. Search their website for keywords to uncover all types of registered patents. Both Google Patents and USPTO.gov are highly trustworthy.
Begin your search with Google Patents. Double-check the USPTO’s website if you don’t discover a relevant patent. Use basic terms when searching for patents. Because patents protect designs, search for that design or product category with a broad keyword. Avoid using long, precise keywords that reflect extremely comprehensive products.
What Is a Patent Infringement?
A patent gives its owner the exclusive right to create, use, sell, offer to sell, or import a specific invention for a limited time. Patent infringement, according to 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) happens when someone participates in any of these activities concerning the patented invention without the authorization of the patent owner. Here is a list of actions that are considered illegal:
- Making an exact copy or a very comparable version of the patented idea.
- Using the patented invention for its intended purpose.
- Offering or actually selling the patented invention.
- Advertising or advocating the sale of a patented invention.
- Importing a patented invention into a country where the patent is valid.
A patent lawyer can help if you’re accused of doing these.
Why Should You Check for Patents?
When a company creates a wholly new product, it holds its intellectual property rights. They can assert ownership by registering the product’s idea, design, and production with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. When a company receives a patent, it acquires the legal right to ban others from creating, using, or selling that product for a set period.
Producing or selling a product that is comparable to one that is patented carries harsh implications. Amazon may suspend or terminate your listing or, in extreme situations, your entire account, resulting in a loss of your investment. Furthermore, the patent holder may pursue legal action against you, resulting in additional financial losses and reputational harm.
A product can be protected by two types of patents:
Intellectual property owners are not required to include the patent status in their listings. As a result, you must perform a rigorous investigation to ensure that you are not infringing on any patent laws.
Do Businesses Have to Provide Patent Information in Their Amazon Listings?
No, corporations are not required to reveal patent information in their Amazon listings. As a result, vendors must conduct extensive research and due diligence to uncover patent infringements. Searching on Google Patents or the USPTO website, for example, can assist in identifying patent information that may not be directly referenced in product listings.
How Can I Find Patent Numbers on a Product or Its Packaging?
Patent numbers are frequently stamped on the object or its packaging. When ordering a product sample from Amazon, scrutinize each part carefully because patent numbers may be hidden. Check competitors’ product descriptions on Amazon listings, as companies may freely indicate their patent status.
How Does Patent Protect Products?
A utility patent protects a product’s function, whereas a design patent protects its look. Understanding these characteristics is critical for sellers because it allows them to evaluate the amount of protection provided by a patent and determine whether a similar product may potentially infringe on the protected rights.
It is okay to develop a product idea; when you check, you find out it is already patented or trademarked. You don’t want to start your business without first checking just to be sued by the trademark owner. Check when you have a fresh product idea. It only takes a few hours, and you get peace of mind and protection from possible lawsuits.