Your intellectual property is important, so if you’ve found a seller on Amazon who copies your branding, steals your patented designs or sells counterfeits of your product online, then it’s time to act and Red Points is here to help.
As one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world, it’s logical that Amazon suffers a counterfeiting problem caused by third-party sellers. This makes removing counterfeits from Amazon a big headache for any brand protection employee. Even with clear anti-counterfeiting policies, tools such as the new Amazon Project Zero, and its claims of fighting against the fake sellers, thousands of counterfeited products are still sold on Amazon each day.
If you found a counterfeit of any of your products or any other form of IP infringement on Amazon we invite you to follow this simple step by step guide, we hope it will prove helpful for you to report IP infringements on Amazon and have your products’ counterfeits removed from the platform.
How to remove a counterfeit from Amazon
Step 1 - Identify what intellectual property is being infringed on Amazon
Your first step will be to identify exactly what intellectual property (IP) is being infringed. In this section, you'll find a quick distinction between copyright, trademark and counterfeit, and patents. For a more detailed explanation, Amazon has provided a more detailed clarification of legal descriptions.
Copyright protects original, artistic work. This may include artwork like paintings, books and other written material, videos or movies, songs or musicals, video games, and so on.
Trademarks and counterfeiting
A trademark is used by a company to identify the goods and services it provides. It exists as a word, a symbol or design, or a combination of these.
Counterfeiting is a form of trademark infringement, in which products are created as illegal copies of registered trademarks, intended to deceive customers. This does not, however, include replicas or look-alike products, in which the registered trademark is omitted from the product or the packaging.
Utility patents protect inventions, like new machines or processes. Design patents are for the aesthetic, ornamental aspects of a creation.
This information is required to prepare your account and documentation for the infringement report.
Step 2: login and Prepare your account
You only need an account, there’s no need for extra settings, so you either log in to your Amazon account or create a new one if you do not have one.
Step 3: Gather information and intellectual property documentation.
Depending on the type of infringement, the information and documentation you are going to be asked to provide will vary slightly. Here, we’ll point out everything you need to report any kind of intellectual property infringement.
We suggest that you prepare this information in advance in order to make the removal of the infringing product faster and easier.
For reporting all types of infringement
This information will be required for every type of infringement report, for removing a counterfeit from Amazon, and other infringements you’ll find the more specific list after this one:
- ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), or the URL of each product you are reporting.
- The brand name
- Personal information, including contact details and address, whether you are the owner of the IP, or an agent representing them.
- Copyright registration number (if possible)
Trademark infringement, or counterfeit products
- Registered Trademark number
- Test buy order number (for counterfeits, and for product/packaging wrongly using your trademark, Amazon may require you to perform a test buy for the product in question).
- Patent number
- Details on court order or International Trade Commission order used to enforce your patent.
- Prepare a description of the IP right you wish to assert
Multiple infringement concerns
- Amazon will require you complete a new form, or a set of forms if the IP infringed upon covers more than a single type of IP from the above list.
Step 4 - Navigate to Amazon’s Infringement Report page
Now that you have your information prepared, head over to Amazon’s Infringement Report page and fill in all the relevant details.
You can also follow these steps to arrive at the report page from Amazons’ homepage:
4.1 Click help on the main navigation bar.
4.2 Click “Other topics & help sites” and then “help for Amazon sellers”
4.3 Once you are on the “selling on Amazon.com” click on the “Policies and Agreements” section on the left menu.
4.4 Look for “Amazon Anti-Counterfeiting Policy” on the left menu.
4.5 On the Anti-counterfeiting policy page you will find a link with the anchor text “notify us” at the end of the paragraph. This link will take you to the report infringement page.
Step 5: File the Amazon infringement report
Keep in mind that any infringement report that you submit will only affect the listings of the domain you are on, you might need to report counterfeits on more than one domain such as amazon.de and amazon.co.uk for example.
5.1: Declare on whose behalf you are reporting:
Now that you are on the “Report Infringement” page you are presented with a few options. Here you can report listings as either a buyer or seller, alternatively, at the bottom of the page there is the option to complete the form as a Rights Owner or an Agent
Here you will need to provide some additional information. If you are an agent, you will require proof that you are acting on behalf of the rights holder.
5.2: Select the type of infringement:
First, you must decide the type of infringement you wish to report, this can be trademark or copyright based.
You can only report one issue at a time. Therefore, if you have found listings that infringe on both trademark and copyright issues, it is recommended that you file two separate complaints.
In the case of patent infringements, you will need to select “other” and give details of the exact patent that the listing is violating with any supporting evidence.
5.3: Fill in the forms.
It is important to provide as much detail as possible in the complaint and give links to the trademark, copyright or patent documents so as to speed up the process.
You can list up to fifty items from multiple sellers but all must be infringing on the same IP right. For example, products that infringe on only the trademark symbol should be in a separate complaint from those that only infringe on design rights.
It is important to ensure you cover all products by entering each ASIN number. Problems arise when the same product has different ASIN numbers for each size or color. Be sure that you enter every single ASIN number for each version of the product.
Step 6: Wait for a resolution
If everything goes well, the counterfeit goods items will be removed from Amazon’s marketplace and you can continue to do business unmolested.
The process usually takes from 1 to 3 working days. If you receive no confirmation from Amazon, we recommend filing a second report after this time.
Make sure to check that the listing has been removed if they accept your complaint, as sometimes the listing will remain but the product will simply appear as “unavailable”. In this case, you will have to submit the complaint again.
If this guide hasn’t fully solved your issues, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to help.
After a successful counterfeit removal, there’s still work to do if you want to keep your brand free of fakes.
There’s a couple of useful tools that Amazon offers to brands to help them with their brand protection on Amazon, namely Amazon Brand Registry and Amazon Project Zero.
Amazon Brand Registry
Now that your reports have been filed, and you await confirmation from Amazon, Red Points urges IP owners to sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry.
If your brand is registered with a trademark, then this Registry offers a number of benefits.
- It grants far more control of products listed on Amazon to the proper owners of the IP.
- It can help customise product information on the listing
- It lets you streamline ad approval
- It helps remove sellers who infringe upon your IP.
You can sign up for Amazon Brand Registry at: https://brandservices.amazon.com/
Amazon Project Zero
Released in March 2019, this is Amazons’ latest and most ambitious response to counterfeiters that operate on the marketplace. It provides three main benefits to participating brands:
- Automated IP protection.
- Self-service counterfeit removal, both offered for free.
- Product serialization, available as an optional paid-for feature.
You can learn more about Amazon Project Zero on our blog post on the topic.
You can currently join the waitlist for enrollment in the beta program at: https://brandservices.amazon.com/projectzero
Other marketplaces and platforms
Nowadays, Amazon is only one of the many huge marketplaces. So, if you’ve found counterfeit products of your brand on it, the chances are you’re going to find them elsewhere, too. They may be in other marketplaces, social media networks, or even rogue sites. That’s why we urge you to check other major sites scouting for fakes, the best defense is a good offense and you will find it much easier to protect your brand if you are prepared even before the counterfeit products start appearing.
It's very important to protect your IP across all online marketplaces, not just on Amazon. So take a look at our guides for counterfeit removal from all the major platforms, you can find the index here.
Removing counterfeits from Amazon can be a daunting task depending on the number of infringements found, if you are in a situation where you can’t cope with all the infringements found on Amazon and other platforms, be advised that technological solutions such as Red Points’ brand protection software could be just what you need.
We hope this guide has been a useful defense against online counterfeiters. However, counterfeiters don’t give up easily and are likely to return. Red Points can provide a free scan of online marketplaces and see if your products are being sold elsewhere without your knowledge. If this interests you, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to talk!
Red Points’ legal disclaimer.
The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of Red Points. The services of the Red Points Blog are not of a legal or advisory nature and no responsibility is accepted for the results of any actions made on the basis of its services. Before taking specific actions in relation to IP protection or enforcement all customers are advised to seek independent legal advice.