Anti-Counterfeiting Targets China & US via its Amazon Vendor System
Four huge anti-counterfeiting targets.. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
One is China. Two are US-based counterfeiters. Three, Amazon itself, Amazon retail, when it acts as a retailer and sells its own products. Number four, third party, Amazon sellers located both in the United States and in China.
What you need to do is to hold your own factory responsible in the venue where they fear the courts the most.
In your contract with your factory, whoever you are revealing your designs to, whoever’s manufacturing your product, you want to make sure that that factory owner, that business knows that if they break your contract, if they breach their agreement and that results in violation of intellectual property rights, if that results in counterfeit products, you’re going to take them to court where it matters to them.
If they’re in China, you want to take them to court in Beijing. You want to hit them where it hurts. You want to put the fear of their own government being involved in their counterfeiting activities.
US-based counterfeiters are those people who are generally sourcing from China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and other places. US-based counterfeiters can be held responsible in US courts. Brands should not be shy about using their intellectual property rights against US counterfeiters right here in the United States.
What you want to do first is do an asset search on whoever is violating your intellectual property rights. Who is selling counterfeit products? Once you know where their assets are, then you want to consider going to court.
The best court in the entire country is the Northern District of Illinois. What that courthouse does for brands is issue temporary restraining orders, freezing the counterfeiters’ assets, Amazon accounts, bank accounts, inventory, and shutting everything down.
The next two best courts to go into are the Southern District of New York and the Southern District of Florida. These courts are the most familiar with dealing with counterfeiters and issuing the orders that brands need to get counterfeiters under control.
Amazon sells roughly a million products itself as a retailer, and also allows roughly five million people and companies to sell through its platform. Through our cross examination of Amazon’s executives, we have uncovered cases where Amazon knew, 100% had noticed that it was buying and reselling counterfeit products. And they were doing this to major brands.
If you have an issue with Amazon itself selling your branded products that are counterfeit, you need to know there is no law firm in the entire world that is more experienced dealing with Amazon in an adversarial relationship where you need to stop them from selling your counterfeit products and also able to maintain that relationship so that your brand can continue to sell.
Now, we’re involved with thousands of third party sellers every year, and we’re involved with tens of thousands of individual products.
On Amazon, they’re referred to as ASINs. It’s the number Amazon assigns to any given product that then multiple sellers can sell under that particular listing. It’s like the page on an old Sears catalog, only counterfeiters can jump on that listing as well as the brand and as well as authorized sellers.
What you need to do when it comes to third party Amazon sellers is conduct a test buy.
Actually buy a sample of the product from that third party seller that you suspect is selling counterfeit products. Once you receive that product, you will then have an email from Amazon confirming your receipt. You can then examine the product to confirm that it is in fact counterfeit.
At that point, you send a cease and desist letter to that Amazon seller and let that Amazon seller know you did a test buy and you know the product is counterfeit. Then you want to give that seller the opportunity to stop selling amicably. We experience a 60 – 80% success rate in getting Amazon third party sellers who are selling counterfeit products to voluntarily stop selling. Amazon sellers generally don’t want anything to do with counterfeit products because they know it puts their entire business at risk, more so if the brand is the one informing them before making that IP complaint.
You need to know what verbiage to include and specifically what verbiage not to include in an intellectual property right complaint when it comes to amazon.com. Amazon staff in India is specifically trained to ignore complaints that include certain words even if 98% of the complaint is valid. If you make an IP complaint on Amazon and you include certain words, their staff in India is taught to simply ignore the entire complaint.
If you would like to learn more about how my law firm can help you with your brand protection efforts specifically on Amazon, contact us and arrange for a meeting. In advance of our meeting, we will identify who is selling your products on amazon.com and we will also have some ideas right at the outset on how you can better protect your brand’s sales.
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