An Interview with Eric Karich: Reporting Copyright, Patent and Trademark Infringements on Amazon
Who are SellerGard?
SellerGard is an offshoot of Karich & Associates, a boutique patent firm based in California, US. The program is designed to help protect Amazon sellers with trademarks and patents. Karich & Associates have over 20 years’ experience assisting with design patents, utility patents, trademarks, and research. They have prepared patents for a wide range of inventions and have extensive experience developing international protection strategies.
1. Why do trademarks matter to Amazon sellers?
Having a registered trademark is especially important to Amazon sellers because a registration allows sellers to obtain Amazon Brand Registry (ABR), which gives access to Enhanced Brand Content (EBC). EBC allows you to edit your product listing and description, as well as add multiple photos, videos, etc, which gives you quite an advantage over the countless pages of generic listings. ABR also provides a powerful “search and report” tools so that you can remove infringers and copycats quickly and easily.
Trademarks have tremendous additional value quite apart from the Amazon platform. A trademark is what enables your customers to make repeat purchases from you, recommend you to friends, etc. It is very common for unscrupulous competitors to copy your name to divert customers from you to their products, and a trademark is what enables you to stop this. Furthermore, it is critical at the start of your business to select a trademark that does not infringe anyone else, which can be disastrous.
A trademark is an absolutely critical part of any new business venture, and I strongly recommend that every seller (on Amazon or otherwise) files as early as possible. This will distinguish you from competitors and enable consumers to return to your unique brand again and again.
2. Do you have to be enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry to report an Intellectual Property infringement?
If you have registered IP, you have the right to enforce it using your own resources, but you will automatically be granted ABR if you prove ownership of a trademark to Amazon, which is faster and more cost-effective.
3. What types of infringement does Amazon protect against?
Amazon adheres to standard legal proceedings for trademarks, patents and copyrights.
Trademark: Trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols and logos. Most commonly, a trademark is either a company name (e.g MICROSOFT) or a product name (e.g Echo Dot). Trademark owners can prevent others from using certain images and phrases.
Patent: A patent prevents others from using, making or selling an invention. Typically, they last for 20 years from filing (assuming maintenance fees are paid). U.S law recognises three different types of patents: utility, design and plant.
Copyright: Copyright protects published and unpublished original works, such as literature, music, art, architecture and software. Copyright owners have exclusive rights to reproduce, make derivatives, distribute copies, etc
4. How common is it for other sellers to make false infringement accusations?
This is a growing concern, and I have seen more of this in recent months, but there are procedures in place for preventing and challenging faulty takedowns.
5. What will happen if a seller ignores an infringement claim?
If you have ABR, the infringing listing will automatically be removed, without requesting a response from the seller.
6. Do you need a lawyer to report/contest an infringement?
It is possible to report infringement without an attorney, although this can be tricky, and you can get into legal trouble yourself if you make unsupported accusations. So, you should usually work in conjunction with an attorney to make sure you don’t get into legal trouble yourself.
If you want to learn more about protecting your eCommerce products on Amazon, Eric Karich will be joining us at Amafest on 13th March 2020. Tickets are priced at just £50 and they’re selling fast. Purchase yours by clicking the link.