I know that one of the main challenges you face as an Amazon seller is the risk of IP violation and product counterfeiting.
Through my years of selling on Amazon, I’ve explored the various measures that the platform has put in place to protect sellers from these issues. I’ve decided to break down one of the more effective ones in place – Amazon’s Project Zero.
My goal in this article is first to answer the question, “What is Amazon Project Zero?” I will also walk you through how you can use the feature for IP protection, and the benefits you can enjoy.
What Is Amazon Project Zero?
Amazon Zero is a program introduced by Amazon in 2019 to empower brand owners like you to protect your intellectual property and combat the sale of counterfeit products on the Amazon marketplace. This program combines advanced technology, machine learning, and brand owners’ active participation to reduce platform counterfeiting to zero, hence the name.
This initiative is currently available for sellers in 20 countries around the world. They include:
- The United States,
- The United Kingdom
- The UAE
- Saudi Arabia
- The Netherlands
Note that if a brand is enrolled in Zero in one of these countries, it is automatically enrolled in all. Amazon reports that the program protects over 22,000 brands and has removed over 1.7 million suspected counterfeits. Some of the products that Zero aims to get rid of include:
- Pirated copies
- Illegally replicated content
- Infringing products
How Does Project Zero Work?
Amazon’s Project Zero can be used to protect the intellectual property (IP) of brand owners and sellers on the Amazon platform. This initiative used Amazon technology and brand analytics to detect and remove any form of IP infringement in the marketplace.
As a brand owner on Amazon, chances are you’ve been affected by counterfeit listings, unauthorized sales, or some other form of IP infringement at one point or the other. Using Zero, you can provide your brand extra layers of protection from counterfeiters, building customer trust and boosting your sales.
Project Zero Amazon works through a strategic combination of three powerful tools. Each tool plays a distinct yet major role in ensuring intellectual property protection and fighting counterfeit products on the platform. They include:
This tool uses advanced technology and machine learning algorithms to scan through billions of listings on the Amazon marketplace daily to find potential counterfeits. Once any suspected counterfeit products are detected, they are immediately removed.
Automated Protections analyzes the key data points brands provide, including your logos and trademarks, to determine if a product listing is authentic. This real-time monitoring tool scans over eight billion listings daily in search of counterfeits, significantly enhancing the integrity of product listings on the platform.
Self-Service Counterfeit Removal
This user-friendly self-service feature places control directly in the hands of brand owners by enabling them to take direct and immediate action against identified counterfeit listings. As a brand owner using Zero, you will be able to remove any unauthorized product listings you find without having to go through the standard reporting process on Amazon.
Additionally, once you remove a counterfeit listing, information about it will be sent to the Automated Protections tool to enhance its algorithm further. This streamlined counterfeit removal process ensures faster intervention against potential infringement.
However, this feature must not be used unfairly against brand competitors. To ensure continued access to Zero, you must have an accuracy score of at least 99%. This means no errors in judgment are allowed. Additionally, you must undergo compulsory training during enrollment to recognize counterfeits.
Product serialization is an optional feature of Zero. It enables you to assign a unique serial number to each unit of your products. Each time a serialized product is bought, Amazon scans the code to verify its authenticity before shipping it. This feature serves as an effective way of stopping counterfeit products before they get to the consumers.
However, this feature is not free of charge. It comes with a cost of $0.01 to $0.05 per item. Since it is currently optional, brands who are not willing to pay the costs can simply go for the first two features, which are free.
How Can You Enroll Your Brand in Amazon Zero?
Amazon Zero allows enrolled brands to delete listings put up by other sellers. Amazon has strict requirements for joining the program to ensure this freedom is not misused.
These requirements include:
- The brand must be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry
- The brand must have a government-registered trademark, and you must own the rights to the trademark
- Over the last six months, you must have submitted reports of potential infringements through the Report a Violation tool with a minimum of 90% acceptance rate on submissions.
You can check your eligibility for Zero through your Amazon Seller Central account. If you are, you can go ahead to register by following these steps:
- Sign in to your Amazon Seller Central and navigate to the Project Zero dashboard.
- Start the enrollment process by providing information about your registered trademark. You can get a trademark with the aid of an IP attorney. Amazon will verify the information to confirm the validity of your trademark.
- Review and accept the terms and conditions of the Project Zero program.
- Complete the training provided by Project Zero. This training helps brand owners understand how to use the tools and features available within the program effectively.
Benefits of Amazon Zero
The effectiveness of the project relies on collaboration between the platform and intellectual property owners. The legal framework in the USA, governed by acts like the Lanham Act and the DMCA, provides a solid foundation for protecting intellectual property rights.
Zero provides numerous benefits for brand owners in the ongoing battle against counterfeit products. Here are a few of its ultimate benefits:
Amazon Zero is a cost-free program, making it a more accessible and affordable solution for businesses of various sizes.
Builds Brand Trust
By reducing the prevalence of counterfeit products, customers can have confidence in the authenticity of products purchased on the platform, building trust in your brand.
Promotes Quick Response to Infringements
Combining automated protections and self-service removal promotes quick response to counterfeit listings. This way, brands don’t have to go through the long process of submitting a report and waiting for Amazon to review it and take action.
Offers Educational Resources
Zero offers training that helps brand owners understand how to use the tools within the program effectively. This education improves the skills of brand owners in identifying counterfeit products, enabling them to leverage Zero for maximum impact.
Limitations of Amazon Zero
While Project Zero offers many benefits to brand owners, it does have some limitations that businesses should be aware of. They include:
Brands are required to have a registered trademark before they can enroll in Zero. This limits the access for businesses without one and leaves them vulnerable to the activities of counterfeiters.
Flawed ASIN System
The automated protection tool can only detect counterfeit products that use the brand owner’s Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). This means that counterfeiters using different ASINs cannot be detected.
Potential Inaccuracy With Self-Service Removal
The self-service counterfeit removal tool empowers brand owners. However, its effectiveness relies on accurate identification. In some cases, legitimate products may be mistakenly flagged, leading to costly disruptions for authorized sellers.
Costly Product Serialization
Product serialization may benefit smaller brands that sell fewer products at high prices. However, for larger brands that have numerous products offered at a low price, getting product serialization may be quite expensive.
Less Focus on Other Forms of Violations
Zero only addresses counterfeiting on the Amazon platform; it does not focus on any other form of intellectual property violation, including:
How Much Does Amazon Project Zero Cost?
There are no upfront costs or subscription fees associated with enrolling in Project Zero. Brands can access the program’s tools, including Automated Protections and Self-service Counterfeit Removal, free of charge. However, brand owners who opt for the optional Product Serialization tool will be required to pay a fee of $0.01 – $0.05 per serialized item.
Is Amazon Project Zero the Same as Amazon Transparency?
No, Project Zero and Amazon Transparency are not the same. Although both programs aim to fight counterfeiting on the platform, they do so in different ways. Zero uses counterfeit monitoring and removal tools, while Transparency uses transparency codes on products that customers can scan to verify product authenticity.
Do I Need a Trademark to Enroll With Amazon Project Zero?
Yes, you must own the rights to a government-registered trademark to enroll your brand in Amazon Zero. You would need the guidance of an IP lawyer for this. Aside from the trademark, your brand must also be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, and you must have submitted reports of potential infringements with at least a 90% acceptance rate in the past six months.
As counterfeiting threatens the reputation and growth of genuine brands on the Amazon marketplace, Zero offers brand owners an effective way of protecting your intellectual property. Enroll your brand in this initiative to access its numerous benefits and ensure your customers only receive genuine products.