5 Reasons Why You Must Register for Amazon Brand Protection Services

February 16, 2021
Written by Jenna
amazon brand protection services

According to Marketplace Pulse, another 672,000 sellers have been added to the 2.2 million active sellers on Amazon worldwide during 2020. What does this mean for you as a seller? It only means that you have to be more competitive to stand out in the world's most populated online marketplace. On top of that, you must be on your guard all the time against those who are trying to knock you off from Amazon. Unfortunately, there will always be bad apples in the basket, who will do anything, even trying illegal tactics. In this article, we will discuss those unlawful marketplace practices and what Amazon brand protection services you must apply to prevent yourself from being a victim.

Reason no. 1: Product Listing Hijackers

As you conduct your weekly optimization of your listings, you notice something odd on your product detail page. Three other sellers are offering your private label product. How could that be?!

We're sorry to break it to you, but you've maybe become a victim of Amazon listing hijacking. 

What is the modus operandi?

Amazon listing hijacking happens when another third-party seller steals your Buy Box. Once they've hijacked it, they may either sell a counterfeit version of your product or offer your actual product.

Here's how you can tell if someone hijacked your listing:

Why is it easy for a hijacker-slash-counterfeiter to sell a product similar to yours? They copy your product's Universal Product Code (UPC) and put it on their fake product. Copying a UPC is simple, as explained by The Wall Street Journal. There are Internet-based companies that resell GS1-compliant UPC codes.

The mission of these online barcode resellers is noble. They want to help new or small independent sellers who can't afford GS1 US fees. However, hijackers saw this as an opportunity to carry out their evil deeds.

Impostors, also known as resellers, saw a loophole in the U.S. First Sale Doctrine. As stated in that law, the First Sale Doctrine "provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner." 

Impostors can purchase your product through a sale, Amazon liquidator, or Amazon Warehouse program. This is how creative these online thieves are. Their final touch is giving it a price lower than yours, which could start a race to the bottom. Overall, these wicked actions from hijackers could hurt not only your conversion rate but also your reputation in the marketplace.

Amazon Marketplace protection tip:

First, you have to buy from them to inspect the product itself. Plus, this might be useful when you need to show Amazon actual proof by sending clear and crisp images of that item.

Out of professionalism, you may contact the cyber thief via "Ask A Question." If that attempt doesn't work, you can report them to Amazon by clicking this link. Or contact a lawyer who is well-versed in Amazon brand protection services.

Reason no. 2: Different types of infringements

Here are the three types of infringements and its M.O.:

  • Copyright infringement - happens when a third-party seller copies any part of your product listing, like its images, bullets, or product description. They can also copy your product's design packaging.
  • Trademark infringement - "is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services," as explained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Patent infringement - comes in two forms. First is a design patent where a third-party-seller-slash-crook copies your product's design, such as its font, logo, or packaging. The second type of patent infringement is utility, and it happens when someone copies how your product works or functions.

Amazon Marketplace protection tip:

Before you sell on Amazon, you must file copyright, trademark, and patent of your product. However, the problem with this is it takes time to file and register each one. 

For the copyright, you have to wait for more or less three months. Patent registration takes between one and two years. In contrast, trademark registration has a total processing time of more or less six months to a year.

Should you wave the white flag of despair and let bad Amazon sellers steal your hard work? Never lose hope, dear seller.

Put on a brave face and send a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator. Otherwise, seek help from a lawyer because of the legal nature of the problem.

Reason no. 3: Another seller falsely claims you've committed I.P. infringement

What a cunning way to destroy your credibility and reputation in the Amazon marketplace, right? It is like hitting two birds with one stone. Besides ruining your reputation, your listing may be taken down as well.

What is the modus operandi?

Another seller will file a claim that you breached their I.P. (intellectual property) using your ASIN, to steal from you. Unfortunately, in Amazon's eyes, you are guilty until you prove that you are innocent. This is how your legal battle with Amazon and the seller begins.

Amazon will send you an I.P. infringement notice for infringing someone's trademark, copyright, or patent. In the notice, there is an instruction to email the claimant to resolve the issue. However, since the claimant's mission is to bring you down, they will deliberately ignore your email. Thus, it will result in the suspension of your Seller Central account. 

Is this the end for you?

Amazon Marketplace protection tip:

Before you declare an all-out war with the seller, make sure that you haven't infringed anyone's intellectual property. Check each of your listings and barcodes if they have an existing trademark, patent, or copyright. You may have unintentionally missed out on anything, which is why you're in this unfortunate situation.

As mentioned above, politely ask the claimant (yes, this is a hard thing to do) to explain how they found out that someone committed copyright infringement against them. If they don't reply (because it is a false claim after all), you might use this against them when you report them to Amazon.

Another method is to gather all the invoices and Order IDs that will help you prove your product's authenticity. Then, file a reinstatement appeal to Amazon. You may also optimize your product listing to get you out of the copyright rabbit hole. Another solution is filing a counter-notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Moreover, seek legal advice because I.P. infringement requires a court battle.

Reason no. 4: Fake poor reviews

Competition is so fierce on Amazon that even customer reviews are used to sabotage other third-party sellers. It is a rampant black hat technique to bypass Amazon's algorithm. 

What is the M.O.?

Amazon's A9 algorithm considers several factors to rank listings in the search results. One of which is through customer reviews, or star ratings. The creativity of crooked sellers knows no bounds, and they saw an opportunity to rig it.

Black hat third-party sellers will post numerous fake one-star or five-star reviews on your listing. A slew of one-star reviews may contribute to the suspension of your account because Amazon doesn’t like poorly performing listings. On the other hand, if your product listings are flooded with unverified and fake five-star reviews at once, Amazon may find this suspicious and will eventually result in account suspension.

Amazon Marketplace protection tip:

Always check your listings if there's anything uncanny going on, like a flood of fake reviews. You may do this by filtering the number of ratings by ones and fives on the left side of the customer reviews section.

Take screenshots of questionable reviews and compile them in PDF format. Don't wait until Amazon notifies you, instead, be proactive by opening a case and sending them these screenshots promptly. In this way, you can protect yourself from these dishonest sellers and help Amazon stop them from their wrongdoings.

Reason no. 5: Vandalizing product listings 

It is another black hat method to bring the competition down. Sadly, anyone can edit or remove your product listing content, including the text, videos, and images.

What is the modus operandi?

Deceitful sellers will hack your listings and modify them. They may change the descriptions in a way that is not related to the product. 

They may replace your images with new ones that violate Amazon's policies. They will do anything to create confusion within the Amazon community, and it could affect your business if undetected.

Amazon Marketplace protection tip:

As you perform another round of Amazon listing optimization, audit the listing first, starting from the title, bullets, descriptions, to its images. Be diligent in taking screenshots every time you do this. If you see something odd in the listing, report this to Amazon Seller Support immediately to return it to its previous version.

3 must-have Amazon brand protection services

Amazon is aware of the black hat transactions happening on their marketplace. In fact, even their products have been hijacked by fake sellers. For that reason, and because of other sellers’ grievances, they developed Amazon brand protection services, as listed below:

1. Amazon Seller Central two-step login

The two-step login is a basic Amazon brand protection solution to fend off cyber hackers. It is quite bothersome, but the code sent by Amazon via email, app, or text is a necessary extra layer of security. Moreover, Amazon now requires this feature forever, so there is no way you can bail out.

2. Register in Amazon Brand Registry

It is one of the Amazon brand protection services that grants you control over your product listings and prevents a third-party seller from vandalizing it. It also provides better protection and more enhanced support for your account.

This type of Amazon brand protection program also assures customers that the information in your listing is accurate and authentic. It provides limitations on who can sell your products as well.

Moreover, Brand Registry helps you eliminate hijackers by allowing you to search ASINs in bulk and detect any infringement against your brand. This Amazon brand protection solution doesn't only act as a shield, but it also gives you access to marketing tools like A+ content, Stores, and Sponsored ads.

However, you must have an active registered trademark to join the Amazon Brand Registry. Yes, we've told you about the tedious and time-consuming application process of registering a patent, trademark, and copyright above. Luckily, Amazon understands this seller's dilemma and put up an Amazon brand protection program called Amazon I.P. Accelerator.

I.P. Accelerator is a free program that lets you connect with a curated network of trusted I.P. law firms to help you obtain an active registered trademark. Here's the best part, it allows you to join Amazon Brand Registry while you wait for your trademark. Awesome, right?

3. Join Amazon Project Zero

Once your trademark and Brand Registry are set up, the next step is to add another layer of Amazon brand protection service called Project Zero. This program has a mission to "drive counterfeits to zero."

It is a powerful Amazon brand protection solution that allows you to remove fake product listings without Seller Support intervention. Project Zero also offers product serialization where you can put a unique code on every unit you sell. Before it reaches your customer, Amazon scans first the code to confirm its authenticity. Thus, stopping counterfeit products from getting out of Amazon's fulfillment centers.

You must have an account in Brand Registry to be eligible and have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% within the last six months. 

Key takeaways

When you are selling on Amazon, always remember that you should practice due diligence and take the necessary precautions to avoid being attacked using black hat techniques. They can strike when you least expect it, so it is better to be proactive. You can start by enrolling in Amazon brand protection services like Brand Registry and Project Zero to protect you from the unscrupulous ways of bad Amazon sellers. In this way, you can defend your listings, sales, and, most importantly, your selling privileges on the largest online marketplace in the world.

If you want to understand more about Amazon brand protection services, Seller Interactive has experienced Amazon consultants willing to help you build a robust Amazon brand protection solution. Email us at [email protected] or [email protected] today.

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