How to Handle an Intellectual Property Complaint as an Amazon Seller

Rich Goldstein

Founder & Principal Patent Attorney
Written notes, laptop, papers and packages on a table

I know that one of the many situations you may find yourself in as an Amazon seller is one where you receive an intellectual property complaint. If you have received an IP complaint as an Amazon seller, you must take it seriously.

Through my years of selling on Amazon and dealing with a few complaints, I’ve become familiar with dealing with this. I’ve compiled this knowledge to help you out.  

My goal in this article is to show you how to handle IP complaints from Amazon and have them resolved as soon as possible.  

How to Handle IP Complaints Amazon as an Amazon Seller 

An Intellectual Property (IP) complaint on Amazon or IP complaint Amazon is a notification sent to a seller to inform them of an IP violation carried out by them. As an Amazon Seller, this typically refers to someone claiming that your product listing on the platform infringes upon their IP rights

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Amazon has zero tolerance for IP violation, Therefore, when an intellectual property complaint is filed against you as an Amazon seller, it may result in severe consequences, such as the removal of your product listings or account suspension. To prevent this, you must respond promptly to any IP complaint filed against you. 

Types of Intellectual Property Complaints on Amazon 

IP complaints come in several different forms. However, on Amazon, here are the most common types of IP complaints: 

Patent Infringement

Patent infringement on Amazon occurs when a seller manufactures or sells a product protected by an active patent without authorization from the patent holder. If you offer a product that uses a patented manufacturing process or feature, and you do not have the right to use it, you can set yourself up for patent infringement claims. 

The Patent Act governs patent law in the USA, granting inventors exclusive rights to their inventions.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement on Amazon involves the unauthorized sale of copyrighted works, such as text, images, videos, product descriptions, or any other content protected by copyright. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) establishes the legal framework for addressing copyright infringement on online platforms like Amazon.

Trademark Infringement

Trademark infringement occurs when a seller uses a trademark, such as a logo or brand name, that is identical or similar to another trademark in a way that may confuse consumers. This can also extend to the packaging or overall appearance of the product. 

Trademark law, governed by the Lanham Act, prohibits the unauthorized use of trademarks, trade names, and service marks.

How to Respond to an Intellectual Property Complaint 

IP complaints on Amazon can either come from Amazon itself or the seller/brand making the claim. Whichever the case may be, the following steps can help you resolve them. Note that these steps may vary slightly depending on the type of IP involved

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Understand the Allegations

Sellers must carefully review the intellectual property complaint and understand the specific allegations. This involves identifying the claimed infringing content, whether it be copyrighted images, text, or trademarked products. Understanding the nature of the complaint is crucial for crafting an effective response and taking corrective action.

If you find that your product doesn’t violate any IP, you can either reach out to the rights owner to withdraw the claim or draft a counter-notice. However, if your product listing infringes on an IP, your next action should involve creating a Plan of Action.

Submit a Plan of Action 

If the complaint made against you is valid, prepare a detailed Plan of Action (POA) in which you acknowledge and take accountability for the infringement. Keep the following in mind when drafting a POA: 

  • Clearly explain the reasons behind the infringement
  • Outline the steps you are actively taking to resolve the issue
  • Highlight the preventive measures you will implement to avoid future infringement
  • Support your claims with evidence, including screenshots, images, product IDs, and listing URLs
  • Emphasize your commitment to adhering to Amazon policies

Once it is ready, submit the POA through your Amazon Seller Central account and await Amazon’s response.

Gather Evidence

If you are sure that the IP complaint is invalid, your next move is to gather evidence that supports your case and demonstrates that you are not infringing on the IP rights of the complainant. 

This may include: 

  • Proof of ownership
  • Licensing agreements
  • Proof of fair use 
  • Invoices
  • Any other documentation that validates your right to use the disputed IP

Submit a Counter-Notice

A counter-notice formally responds to an IP complaint asserting that infringement claims are incorrect or unjustified. Your counter-notice should be well-written and address each specific point raised in the complaint. 

According to Amazon’s guidelines, here are some important elements a counter-notice should contain:

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  • Your name and contact details 
  • A copy of the initial IP complaint 
  • A statement stating that you believe the complaint was filed incorrectly or without proper justification
  • An explanation of why the claim is invalid, supported by evidence where applicable
  • A declaration that if the rights owner chooses to pursue legal action you submit to the authority of the court where the initial IP complaint was filed 

Understand that you may need to consult the help of an IP lawyer if the situation becomes complex or legal issues arise. A professional in this field can advise and guide you until the situation is resolved.

Related Questions 

Will My Amazon Account Be Suspended If I Get an IP Claim?

Yes, receiving an IP claim on Amazon can lead to an account suspension if not addressed promptly and effectively. Amazon takes IP violations seriously and has strict policies to protect the rights of IP owners. Therefore, after receiving an IP complaint, you should gather evidence to support your case and follow Amazon’s guidelines for resolution.

What Happens If I Ignore an IP Complaint on Amazon?

If you ignore a complaint, Amazon may remove your product listings or, in severe cases, suspend your seller account. This may cause considerable damage to your brand reputation on the platform, which could be difficult to come back from. Therefore, responding to any IP complaint you get is essential as quickly as possible. 

How Can I Prevent Intellectual Property Complaints on Amazon?

To prevent IP complaints as a seller on Amazon, conduct thorough research to ensure your products and listings are not infringing on the rights of others. You should also stay informed about Amazon’s Intellectual Property Policy and comply with all regulations. Additionally, ensure you obtain proper licensing or permissions for any IP used in your product listings. 

Conclusion 

When dealing with an IP complaint, you need to respond as quickly as possible. Familiarizing yourself with Amazon’s Intellectual Property Policy might help you learn how to formulate a proper response. You should also consider consulting with a legal expert to protect your interests during this process. 

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