I know that one of the challenges you’d likely face selling your patented product online is a potential theft of your original idea. If you’re just starting out, there’s a chance that you may experience this at some point.
Through the several years that I’ve been selling patented products on Amazon, I’ve had to deal with some infringement cases. So, I’ve decided to combine my experience and research to provide you with some crucial information.
My goal in this article is to help you protect and profit from your idea by walking you through how to recognize and how to report patent infringement on Amazon.
How to Report Patent Infringement on Amazon
Patent infringement occurs when sellers use or sell patented products without permission from the patent holder. This act may either be unintentional, or intentional and often has bad consequences for the seller, including financial losses and reputation damage.
While reporting patent infringement on Amazon may seem like a complicated process, it does not have to be. Knowing the right steps to take will greatly ease some of the burden and ensure you protect your intellectual property rights in the best way possible. In case you were wondering, here are some reasons to take action against patent infringement:
- To safeguard your intellectual property, thereby ensuring no one can profit from or replicate your creations without proper authorization
- To maintain control over your market and prevent competition
- To prevent financial loss on your part
- To prevent damage to your brand reputation
How to Recognize Patent Infringement
In the United States, patent law is primarily governed by federal statutes, most notably the United States Code Title 35 – Patents. This statutory framework outlines the legal provisions and regulations related to patents.
As a Utility and Design patent holder, it’s almost impossible to protect your patent rights if you are unable to recognize infringement when it occurs. On Amazon, infringement can occur in various ways, and being able to identify the signs is your best bet at protecting your invention. Here are a few ways to discover and recognize infringement when it occurs:
- Keep a close eye on Amazon listings in your product category, especially on new products or sellers with products similar to yours
- Conduct keyword searches relevant to your patent and set up automated alerts. This allows you to be notified whenever products matching your keywords are listed
- Compare the features of similar products listed on Amazon with your patented product. Look for similarities in design, technology, or any unique aspects that your patent protects
- Review product descriptions and titles carefully. If you find listings using language or terminology specific to your patented invention, it could be an indicator of infringement.
- Enroll your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry to access additional tools and support for protecting your intellectual property.
- Familiarize yourself with patent laws and regulations to better understand the scope of your patent protection.
- Consult a patent attorney for legal advice and guidance
Steps to Report Patent Infringement on Amazon
Reporting infringement is the first step in enforcing your patent right. The process involves the following activities:
Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim
Begin by collecting the necessary evidence to support your infringement claim. This evidence can include:
- Screenshots of the infringing product listings, including their title, description, and images
- Patent registration certificate to show that you truly own the patent
- URL links of the infringing listings as well.
It is also important to confirm that your patent is valid, active, and covers the claimed infringement. Finally, ensure that your patent documentation is up-to-date and that the patent number and details match the information on the infringing product.
File Your Claim
Once you’ve gathered all the evidence you need, it’s time to file your infringement claim with Amazon. You can do this by filling out and submitting the Amazon Report Infringement form. You’ll be required to mention the type of infringement that has occurred, as well as provide detailed information about your patent.
It’s always advisable to get a patent lawyer to help you with filling out this form, to ensure that it contains the proper legal terms to describe the infringement. Once you’ve filled out the report and attached all relevant evidence, submit it to Amazon
Follow Up on Your Report
After submitting the report, all that’s left to do is wait for a response from Amazon. They may reach out to you to provide additional information or clarification. Make sure to respond promptly and professionally to any requests to quicken the resolution process.
Note that the seller of the infringing product may also reach out to you to ask you to retract the claim, or to negotiate a resolution. If this does not work, they may file a counter-notice with Amazon, arguing that their sale does not infringe on any patent. You therefore need to be prepared for their response.
Confirm the Validity of the Patent
Ensure that your patent is valid and enforceable. If you have any doubts about the validity of your patent, consult with your attorney to address any concerns before proceeding with legal action.
Do I Need to Enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry to Report Patent Infringement?
No, you don’t. However, enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry can increase your ability to manage and enforce your brand’s rights by providing useful resources and tools for protecting your intellectual property. It also helps you increase your product sales and expand your advertisement options.
What Happens After I Submit an Infringement Report on Amazon?
After you submit an infringement report, Amazon will review the information you have provided. Then they will send an infringement notice to the accused seller and may remove the product listing from the seller’s page. It is then left to the seller to respond to the notice, after which, you will figure out the next step to take.
Can I File an Infringement Report Without a Patent Attorney?
Yes, you can file an infringement report without a patent attorney. However, if the infringement is not resolved or becomes a complex legal matter, it may be advisable to seek legal assistance. A patent attorney can advise you on the best steps to take and help you navigate the entire process effectively.
If you discover that someone is selling your patented product on Amazon without your permission, it is vital to act as fast as you can. Carry out a thorough investigation, and then file a patent infringement claim with Amazon. For legal assistance, it is advisable to hire the services of a patent attorney.