A quick introduction to the concept of Brand Infringement

by Varsha Menon on 10/08/2016
If you manufacture your own products and would like your buyers to easily identify them from a crowd of similar looking products, you would usually tag your products with a unique brand name (many manufacturers and sellers also register their brand-name as a trademark). This helps customers remember your company, know that the product they are buying is from you and can easily help them find your products by using the same brand name. Manufacturers who register to sell their products on Amazon but do not have UPC/EAN for their items, would also need to register their brand name with Amazon (a process known as Brand Registry). Brand Registry establishes that a certain brand is unique to you. However, it will not restrict other sellers from listing on your ASINs as long as they are selling the same items (eg: re-sellers of your products).

In case you are not a manufacturer of the products you sell, but you source them from a different company that has a brand name, then you must get the correct permission from that brand owner to sell their products. If you don’t do that and use someone else’s brand name and/or products, then it’s called Brand Infringement.
In this post we talk about Brand Infringement and what that means when selling on Amazon.

What is Brand Infringement?
If a seller infringes, breaks, disobeys or violates the intellectual proprietary rights of any rights owner (another seller) without their authorization, it is referred to as brand infringement. In simple terms, brand infringement usually occurs if a seller uses a logo or trademark of any rights owner on their own products or the product packaging without the rights owner’s authorization. For example, if seller A uses the product logo owned and registered by seller B, then that counts as brand infringement.

Brand Infringement includes (but is not limited to):
>Logos that are a copy of another brand
>Brand name is confusingly similar to another brand (even if it is co-incidental)
>Unauthorized use of another brand name or logo
>Using celebrity images/signatures without consent/authorization of the celebrity
>Unauthorized use of copyright images
>What precautions can you take to avoid a case of brand infringement?

It is important that you are aware and always make every effort to prevent possible violation of the Brand Infringement policy (as per Amazon guidelines) as it has legal consequences. Here are some tips that will help you identify possible cases and rectify them as soon as possible:

>Scan your inventory regularly to see if any of your products are not following the guidelines.
>Remove the products that you suspect may be violating the brand infringement policy.
>Review documents from distributors: In case you are buying products from a distributor, ensure that you review valid documents before you decide there is a case of Brand Infringement or not.

What are the possible consequences if a brand infringement case is filed against you?

In case a seller violates the brand infringement policy, the consequences could be as follows:
>Legal action against the infringing seller by the original brand owner if he/she suspects a case of brand infringement.
>Suspension or blocking of the seller’s Amazon selling account without warning and removal of suspected product.
>What measures can you take if your account gets suspended due to a brand infringement complaint?

If suspension happens to you, the best thing to do would be to remove all infringing listings and approach the original brand owner who has complained against you to get permission to distribute/sell their products. Once an agreement has been reached, request the brand owner to send a retraction email to Amazon and as the suspended seller, you would also need to submit necessary proofs about now selling original products manufactured by the original brand. If all documents are in order, Amazon will evaluate the case for revoking the suspension.

So that’s a quick introduction to brand infringement. In case you need help identifying or understanding the policies of brand infringement, you can get in touch with our Seller Support team.
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