HomeBlogAmazon InfringmentWhen You Need An Amazon Seller Lawyer

When You Need An Amazon Seller Lawyer

For most Amazon seller suspensions, you do not need the services of an Amazon seller lawyer.

A simple Amazon suspension for “used sold as new” or order defect rate is something that you can probably appeal on your own. If your Amazon appeal has been rejected you might want a professional appeal letter. However, a paralegal or consultant is all you need. There is not much an Amazon lawyer can improve upon these services.

If you have an intellectual property issue or your account is large ($2 mil revenues) you should search for an Amazon attorney.

Intellectual Property Issues

As an Amazon seller you have signed a contract to operate your business according to Amazon’s policies. You probably quickly signed up without even reading the terms of the agreement.

As part of your seller agreement you agreed to abide by the the Intellectual Property Policy. This agreement gives Amazon the power to suspend accounts for suspected IP infringements.

Amazon infringements revolve around trademark issues and copyright issues. As I’ve written about previously, for trademark cases an Amazon attorney will do the following:

  1. The attorney investigates the case and gives you advice about the merits of the case.
  2. If the complaint is baseless, the attorney drafts an opinion letter. This letter is sent to the complainant.
  3. Sometimes, the complainant needs to be aware of their legal liabilities should they refuse to withdraw the complaint. For example, every day that your Amazon store is closed due to a baseless complaint is lost revenue.
  4. You receive a retraction letter.

Since you will most likely be dealing with a lawyer from the complainant you should have your own Amazon seller attorney representing you.

Hire an Amazon Seller Attorney Early

Of course it is always better to consult with an Amazon seller lawyer before you have any complaints or infringements. Before you file a trademark and sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry, you should have an IP attorney investigate your trademark, packaging and research your competition. I have had clients who have purchased thousands of units for their own private label business without realizing that they were infringing on any intellectual property rights.

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For example, in one case, my client purchased office accessories that were shaped like cute little animals. He thought that the animals were generic but they were actually protected by copyright law. Similarly, his packaging was too similar to the competitor’s packaging which created a Trade dress issue.

An Amazon seller lawyer can analyze your product, packaging and listing. Before you place a bulk order for a private label product from China, you can be assured that your new brand does not infringe on any property rights. This is important as more and more Amazon sellers are being slapped with bogus claims. You have to know where you stand before you enter the Amazon jungle!

Payment Disputes

It is becoming increasingly common for Amazon to withhold payments from sellers. For example, if your account was suspended for an intellectual property issue, Amazon will hold on to all payments until the issue is resolved. Amazon wants to make sure that they are not liable for any potential returns. If the issue is not resolved, Amazon will hold on to the monies for another 90 days (at a minimum). It is difficult to wrangle this money from Amazon even though you might be entitled to it. Often times, you will need an Amazon seller lawyer to deal with Amazon’s legal department.

Amazon Arbitration

Amazon does not let you litigate most cases in a regular court proceeding. Instead, as part of your agreement, you agreed to arbitration proceedings. You can familiarize yourself with the Arbitration fees here. It is quite rare for sellers to arbitrate against Amazon since the results are not often favorable. The Demand for Arbitration should be drafted by an Amazon seller attorney. In some cases, if you lose you need to pay Amazon legal costs, arbitration costs and your own legal costs. This risk is designed to dissuade sellers from taking the Arbitration route. It works.

Final Advice

As a general rule, you should hire an Amazon attorney if you have any IP issues. This includes setting up your product and packaging with the brand registry and problems that arise from IP complaints. Other types of suspensions can commonly be handled by paralegals with some experience with Amazon appeal letters. For simple ASIN deactivations you can even write the Appeal letter yourself if you have an understanding of the correct format.

Finally, on a lighter note, when you are searching for Amazon lawyers you want to make sure that your lawyer is not a cat:)

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