By: Michal Niemkiewicz and Gregory Hong
Amazon.ca provides intellectual property rights owners with a quick and relatively inexpensive mechanism to enforce their rights against infringers by filing a complaint using an online form through the Report a Violation tool on Amazon’s Brand Registry. The infringing products are immediately delisted upon acceptance of the complaint. If the initial complaint is rejected, it can be resubmitted with additional supporting information.
Amazon has become the leading ecommerce marketplace used with much success by a great number of makers and vendors of a wide variety of products. However, as many intellectual property rights owners who offer their products through Amazon know or have already experienced, unauthorized third parties sometimes offer products through Amazon that infringe the rights owners’ trademarks, patents, copyright, or industrial designs.
Amazon’s Canadian marketplace, Amazon.ca, is no exception to the unwelcome reality of intellectual property infringement. Luckily, Amazon.ca offers legitimate rights owners a relatively simple and quick mechanism for protecting and enforcing their rights.
Rights owners whose intellectual property rights are infringed by other sellers on Amazon’s ecommerce marketplace may file a complaint with Amazon.ca. Filing a complaint relating to infringement of one or more of a Canadian copyright, industrial design registration, patent, or trademark is most conveniently done through the Report a Violation tool offered by Amazon’s Brand Registry. If the rights owner is not enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry, they may submit a complaint through Amazon’s online Report Infringement form.
The online forms through which complaints are filed require the rights owner, or an agent who is appointed by the rights owner, to provide information detailing the substance of the alleged infringement. If the rights owner already has a relevant court order relating to the infringement, Amazon.ca will accept such an order as part of the complaint.
Upon review, Amazon will either accept the complaint and delist the infringing item, or reject the complaint. From our experience, Amazon’s review of a complaint may take from one day to a couple of weeks. Once Amazon accepts a complaint, the item in question is delisted immediately. If a complaint is rejected, the Brand Registry offers the rights owner an opportunity to escalate the complaint by allowing the rights owner to submit additional information about the alleged infringement.
If a complaint is accepted and the item in question is delisted from Amazon.ca, the seller has two options. First, Amazon offers the seller an opportunity to appeal the delisting. Second, the seller may come to an agreement with the rights owner, with the latter agreeing to reactivate the seller’s infringing listing.
The process provided by Amazon.ca for reporting infringement of intellectual property rights offers an inexpensive and very fast method for stopping infringement on Amazon. In comparison, obtaining a court order prohibiting the sale of an infringing item may take years and involve significant costs, and for these reasons may not be practicable for stopping infringing Amazon sellers.
Please contact us for more information or assistance if you need help with issues relating to infringement of intellectual property rights on Amazon.