Most of the shopping that I do at this point is online. It’s easy, convenient, and in many cases helps me to save money on my purchases. Businesses are also embracing this trend by setting up their own online stores. Amazon is probably the most popular website for businesses to market and sell their products. But just like with physical stores, the online marketplace creates a potential for trademark infringement. It also can create issues of copyright infringement. Businesses that use Amazon need to be aware of the Amazon takedown notice and procedure.
Trademark and copyright infringement on Amazon are very important issues. If your business only sells through Amazon (and many of them do), you are dependent on your online store. When your product is taken down because of an alleged infringement, everything comes to a screeching halt. Let’s first talk about what you can do to avoid and/or rectify that situation. Then we will look at what steps you can take if someone else infringes upon your rights under trademark or copyright law.
Avoiding Takedowns for Trademark Infringement
Like with any other trademark, I recommend having an attorney perform a search of the Trademark Office’s database before you adopt or begin using a particular trademark. If you are going to be using Amazon for your online store, you would also want to conduct your own search of the Amazon store for confusingly similar names. That will help you avoid an Amazon takedown of your product. Once you find a name without conflicts, you will want to apply to register that trademark. That way, if you receive an Amazon takedown notice based on trademark infringement, you can file an Amazon takedown counter-notice showing that you own a registration for your mark.
Protecting Your Valuable Copyrighted Materials
This same logic applies to obtaining a registration for parts of your Amazon page that are subject to copyright. There are three main aspects of any Amazon page that you may want to register:
- The product itself. Check with a copyright attorney to see whether your product is something that may be eligible for copyright protection. Remember, copyright applies to creative works such as sculptures, paintings, and books.
- Photos of the product. No matter what your product is, you probably want to have quality photos that show it off on your page. Good photos go a long way with potential buyers. If you took the photos yourself, or hired a photographer that assigned the copyrights in the photos to you, then you certainly don’t want others to steal your photos to use on their product page.
- Text describing the product. If you have written detailed descriptions, FAQs, and sales pitches around your product, the last thing you want is for someone selling the same or similar products to copy/paste your work onto their page..
Getting a copyright registration for these parts of your Amazon page (if applicable) can help you avoid an Amazon takedown based on a claim of copyright infringement. It helps to be able to prove that you have a copyright registration.
Dealing With Infringers Using Amazon’s Takedown Tools
On the other hand, you may discover that someone is infringing upon your trademark or copyrights and need to take action against them. In either case, you can use the Amazon Report Infringement page to submit your complaint. If you have a trademark or copyright registration, you can submit this with your complaint. Amazon may decide to take down the infringing page based on your complaint.
In some cases it may also make sense to have an attorney send a cease-and-desist letter to the infringer. You may be able to come to an agreement that works for both parties by doing so. In some cases, it may be better to expedite the process by just filing the Amazon takedown notice. Because these matters deal with infringement, they can be escalated into lawsuits. Remember that in order to file a copyright infringement lawsuit, you first need to obtain a copyright registration. And you can only recover statutory damages if you obtained your copyright registration prior to when the infringement started.
Have You Received Or Do You Need to File an Amazon Takedown Notice?
I understand that your online store is important to your business. Whether someone is attempting to remove your product from Amazon, or infringing upon your trademark or copyrighted work, your business will be significantly impacted without swift action to rectify the situation. If you are in this situation, or would like to prevent such a situation by registering your trademark or copyright, please call me at (314) 479-3668, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today. I look forward to speaking with you.