While enforcing your intellectual property (IP) rights nationally can be challenging, it could be even tougher internationally. Given that Amazon is a global e-commerce platform, this is critical. 

Through my years of helping Amazon sellers, I have reviewed the various tools available to sellers for international IP rights protection and noted some of the most effective ones. 

My aim in this article is to expand on what enforcing IP rights means, how to enforce Amazon intellectual property rights internationally, and the tools at your disposal to make this happen.  

How to Enforce Amazon Intellectual Property Rights Internationally

Many goods sold on Amazon incorporate intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, or patent rights. Due to the reach of this platform, unauthorized sellers have ample opportunities to manufacture and sell counterfeit copies of branded products. So, Amazon sellers need to enforce their IP rights nationwide and internationally. 

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What Does Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Mean?

Intellectual property rights refer to the legal rights granted to individuals or entities over creations of the mind, including inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. These rights grant the owners exclusive control over their intellectual properties. 

Enforcement of IP rights refers to the actions taken to uphold and protect the rights granted to individuals over their intellectual property. This process involves identifying and addressing instances of infringement, which is the unauthorized use, sale, or distribution of protected intellectual property without permission. 

Enforcement efforts can take various forms, including:

Types of IP Enforceable on Amazon 

On Amazon, IP rights typically fall into three main categories. These three types of IP are enforceable on Amazon to protect the rights of brands and sellers. They include: 

Trademarks

Trademarks are one of the most common forms of IP enforced on Amazon. They protect logos, brand names, expressions, and other items that help distinguish products or brands as per Lanham Act 15 U.S. Code § 1114

Copyrights

Copyrights protect original works of authorship, including images, product descriptions, music, texts, and other creative content used in listings on Amazon. Copyrights are protected under the Copyright Act of 1976, specifically under 17 U.S. Code § 501. Copyright owners can enforce their rights by sending a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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Patents

Patents are protected under the Patent Act, specifically under 35 U.S. Code § 271, and grant exclusive rights to inventors to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention without permission. Sellers may hold patents for products sold on Amazon and can enforce their patent rights against infringing products listed on the platform. If you must take this step, you will need a patent attorney

Tools for Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights Internationally on Amazon

Enforcing IP rights internationally on Amazon requires a combination of proactive measures and strategic tools. Thankfully, Amazon provides several tools and programs to help sellers protect their IP rights on its platform. Here’s a breakdown of each of these tools in detail.

Amazon Report Infringement Form

The Amazon Report Infringement form is a straightforward tool Amazon provides for reporting IP infringements directly to the company. Right owners of intellectual property or their permitted agent can use this form to notify Amazon of listings that violate their trademarks, copyrights, or other IP rights. 

The form requires users to provide detailed information about the following:

Amazon reviews these reports and, if deemed valid, takes appropriate action, such as removing the infringing listings or suspending the seller account. However, no actions will be taken against the reported seller if the report is rejected. 

Amazon Brand Registry

The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that assists brand owners on Amazon in protecting their intellectual property and building their brand. To qualify for the Brand Registry, you need to own a pending or registered trademark

By enrolling in this program, you can gain access to a range of tools and benefits, including:

Automated Listing Monitoring 

The program offers automated monitoring of the listings on the marketplace to detect potentially infringing listings, counterfeits, or unauthorized use of your intellectual property.

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Streamlined Reporting 

Through the Report a Violation tool, Brand Registry simplifies reporting IP infringements to Amazon. Any issues reported through this feature are reviewed in as little as 24 hours, allowing for a quicker resolution for brand owners.

Brand Building Tools

Brand Registry also offers features such as A+ Content and Enhanced Brand Content to give you extra control over your brand image on the platform. These tools help you improve your product listings and enhance your brand presence on Amazon.

Amazon Project Zero

Project Zero is an Amazon initiative to combat counterfeit products on the platform. It uses advanced technology and brand owners’ collaborative efforts to identify and remove counterfeit listings. It is available in 20 countries globally, providing sellers with considerable international coverage. 

Key features of Project Zero include:

Automated Protection

Project Zero utilizes machine learning algorithms to continuously scan and detect potentially counterfeit listings, enabling brands to take swift action to remove them.

Self-Service Counterfeit Removal

Brands enrolled in Project Zero can remove counterfeit listings directly from the platform without submitting a takedown request to Amazon.

Product Serialization

Project Zero offers product serialization tools that allow brands to assign unique serial numbers to individual products, making tracking and authenticating genuine products easier.

Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX)

Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX) is another IP enforcement program designed to help patent owners who have enrolled their brand in the Brand Registry. The program uses neutral patent evaluators to assess whether an accused listing truly infringes on the asserted utility patent. 

As a utility patent owner who wants to benefit from this program, here are the steps of the APEX process: 

This process is particularly great for sellers experiencing infringement from foreign sellers, as it has no jurisdictional limitations. This process’s minimal expense and quick resolution make APEX one of the best ways to enforce your patent rights on Amazon

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Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

TRIPS is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets minimum standards for protecting IP rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. While TRIPS is not a tool provided by Amazon, it establishes a framework for enforcing IP rights internationally. 

TRIPS requires member countries to provide effective enforcement tools and remedies for IP infringement, including civil and criminal penalties and cooperation between customs authorities and rights holders. This promotes international enforcement efforts on Amazon. However, enforcement still largely relies on the legal systems of individual countries.

Madrid System

The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks provides a streamlined process for trademark registration in multiple countries. Trademark owners can protect their marks in multiple jurisdictions through a single application.

Berne Convention

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works provides a framework for copyright protection internationally. It establishes the principle of “national treatment,” whereby each member country must provide the same level of protection to foreign works as it does to its own.

Related Questions 

Can an Attorney Help Enforce My Intellectual Property on Amazon?

Yes, an attorney can help enforce your IP rights on Amazon. Attorneys with knowledge of IP laws and regulations can significantly help you identify infringement cases, issue notifications to the sellers, file complaints, and take legal action against infringers who refuse to comply. They also improve your chances of achieving favorable outcomes in infringement cases. 

What Countries Is Amazon Brand Registry Available for Sellers?

Amazon Brand Registry only accepts government-issued trademarks in select countries and regions. They include the United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sweden, Poland, Benelux, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates. 

What Should I Do if Accused of Infringement on Amazon Incorrectly?

If wrongly accused of infringement on Amazon, the first thing to do is gather evidence to refute the claim, such as documents showing your ownership of or authorization to sell the allegedly infringing product. Next, contact Amazon through the appropriate channels and submit evidence to support your position. You may also contact the vendor to resolve the matter directly. 

Conclusion

Amazon offers a range of tools and programs to help sellers and brand owners on the platform enforce their IP rights internationally. They include Brand Registry, Project Zero, and APEX, among others. By leveraging these tools, you can effectively combat infringement and enforce your rights across national borders.