How I Combated and Won an IP Claim on Amazon

How I Combated and Won an IP Claim on Amazon

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Update: 5/21 (see template at the end of this post)

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a lawyer, or do I play one on TV or the internet. I'm just a regular ol' Amazon seller trying to live the dream. The information in this post worked for me, however, I cannot guarantee it will work for you. Now back to the good stuff...

Picture this...

I was relaxing at home, watching TV, when my phone buzzed. Of course, being the millennial I am, I quickly grabbed it to ensure that phantom notification was attended to immediately.

It read... "There are singles in your area dying to meet you!"

How these singles will meet me if they're dead, I'll never know... But, shortly after that I received another email that read as follows:

Hello,

We are contacting you because we received a report of infringement from the rights owner listed below. Sellers on Amazon.com are not allowed to create listings or detail pages that infringe intellectual property rights. We removed the following content:

ASIN: B00A391WW8, e-cloth Home Cleaning Set, 8 Piece

We may let you list this content again if we receive a retraction from the rights owner. Their contact information can be found below.

<retracted>

If the rights owner agrees to retract their complaint, they must send the retraction to us at [email protected]

If you believe that the reported content does not infringe the rights owner’s intellectual property rights, you may email [email protected] with supporting information.

We consider allegations of intellectual property infringement a serious matter and your account is under review. If we receive more complaints about your listings, we may not allow you to sell on Amazon.com.

To learn more about this policy, search for "Intellectual Property Violations" in Seller Central Help.

Complaint ID: <retracted>

Sincerely,
Amazon Seller Performance Team
The Dreaded IP Infringement Email 

As an Amazon seller, receiving one of these emails is nearly heart-stopping. The first thing running through my heard at this point was, "I hope this doesn't lead to a suspension." and my second thought was, "I have to fight this." So, I did...

A Little Background On This Item

I bought this item in early May from a reputable distributor as a test to see how well it would do.

I only bought 5 because Amazon was on the listing and there were 10+ other FBA sellers, but the rank was good and we were in the Spring cleaning season, so I wanted to give this item a try.

Only about a day or two after these hit Amazon's warehouse, I received this communication from e-cloth:

Hello from TADGreen/e-cloth™,

We have great expectations for TADGreen/e-cloth™, and we are dedicated to its growth and success. At this stage, we have encountered many obstacles surrounding Amazon. We believe that these issues create a threat to the new growth that TADGreen/e-cloth™ is looking to nurture. This has caused TADGreen/e-cloth™ to take measures that will protect the integrity of its products from unauthorized Amazon sellers and sub-MAP pricing.

To that end, the leadership team at TADGreen/e-cloth™ has formed an exclusive partnership deal that allows us full control of sales of TADGreen/e-cloth™ products on Amazon. Effective immediately, TADGreen/e-cloth™ is issuing a notice of intent to implement this partnership.

From this point forward, TADGreen/e-cloth™ does NOT authorize any Amazon sellers. The necessary arrangements have been made to have ALL unauthorized violators shut down in 14 days. From the time of this message, you have 14 days to sell through your current inventory. We appreciate your past business with us and recognize that you may have other online websites not connected to Amazon that you may wish to sell remaining inventory through. We are open to review proposals for this matter. Please contact us to discuss further.

Thank you,
Compliance TeamTADGreen/e-cloth™

The First Contact

I responded to them asking what the MAP pricing was and if I could open an account directly with them, however, they never contacted me back. So, I just went on my merry way and decided I would sell through the 5 items I had and avoid that brand in the future.

If the profit was better and/or the sales potential was higher, I would have pushed harder to get ahold of the company and open an account, but in this case I didn't think it was worth the trouble.

Two days after I received the above correspondence, I received the lovely intellectual property rights infringement email I posted above. I found this really odd considering the first contact said I could sell through my remaining inventory for 14 days before they'd take action. Maybe they're on a different planet where time goes faster. Who knows?

My Response to e-cloth

My immediate reaction was to respond to e-cloth in hopes they'd remove the claim. After all, I was planning on complying with their demands. Here's what I emailed them:

Hi,

Today I received an email from Amazon stating that we (STORENAME) were infringing upon your rights for the following item:

ASIN: B00A391WW8, e-cloth Home Cleaning Set, 8 Piece.

I'm terribly sorry to hear that and we sincerely apologize about any infringement! Our intentions are never to damage the reputation or infringe upon a company's property.

That being said, over the weekend (May 13) we received an email from the TADGreen/E-cloth Compliance team that we have 14 days to sell through our E-Cloth inventory which we were complying with. Has this changed?

We are more than happy to completely remove all E-Cloth listings from our account before these 14 days are up, if necessary.

Finally, if you wouldn't mind, we would appreciate it if you could remove the IP-infringement claim by emailing [email protected] since we are complying with all your requests. These claims hurt our business as I'm sure unauthorized sellers hurt yours, so if you wouldn't mind removing the claim, we would be very appreciative.

As mentioned, we are happy to comply with removing our inventory in 14 days or earlier as needed.

Thank you very much for your time,
Josh

Contacting e-cloth

I use polymail, which is a free/paid email client for Apple devices that allows you to track emails, so I could know when/if my email was ever opened. It wasn't.

I then tried following up 24 hours later asking if they had a chance to look at my email, which I know they didn't, and SHOCKINGLY, they didn't open this email either.​

Side note: If you want to try Polymail, you can use code: FMAF55 to get a free month of Polymail Pro.

My Response to Amazon

After my last two emails were never opened, I decided to email Amazon directly to try and remove this IP claim from my account. Here's what I emailed them:

Hello,

I recently received an email with a notice of Intellectual Property Rights Infringement for the following item:

ASIN: B00A391WW8, e-cloth Home Cleaning Set, 8 Piece

This was quite a shock to us, as we at STORENAME work very hard to ensure we protect the rights and products of our distributors and suppliers. As such, we have contacted the contact mentioned in the email to see where we've gone wrong and what we can do to fix the issue.

In regards to the claim, we believe this infringement may not be valid at all, as the images and text used in the listing appear to be owned by Amazon as mentioned in Amazon's own FAQ on Page Ownership (seen here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200202130).

Going forward we plan to more carefully check the listings we sell on to ensure we aren't infringing on anyone's rights. For good reference, we have attached our distributor's invoice to prove that this item is authentic as well.

If you need anything else, please let us know.

Thank you very much for your time.

Regards,
Josh

First Email to Amazon

ANNNNNDDDDDD that email didn't work. I received a canned response from Amazon VERY quickly which made me think they didn't read the email, but who knows. Their response was as follows:

​Hello,

Based on the information you provided, you may not relist the content at the end of this email.

We may let you list this content again if we receive a retraction from the rights owner. Their contact information can be found below.

<retracted>

If the rights owner agrees to retract the complaint, they must send the retraction to us at [email protected]

If you believe that the reported content does not infringe the rights owner’s intellectual property rights, you may email [email protected] with supporting information.

ASIN: B00A391WW8
Infringement Type: Trade Mark Infringement.
Complaint ID: <retracted>

Sincerely,
Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com

Response From Amazon

This was disappointing, but I didn't give up! I started researching more and came across this thread where The Schadenfreudist shared his template response to Amazon after receiving an IP claim against his account. So, I took his template and adjusted it to my needs and sent it to Amazon:

Dear Copyright Agent,

Please find attached to this letter a list of material removed by you pursuant to 17U.S.C. Section 512. I have a good faith belief that this material was removed or disabledin error as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material. I declare that this is true and accurate under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America.

Tadgreen's claims are invalid, libelous, and a criminal act of perjury. The product represented by ASIN B00A391WW8 is a listing that was created by Amazon and according to Amazon's policy (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200202130), they own the listing which means there is no way to infringe upon Tadgreen's intellectual property.

Tadgreen has a history of submitting false infringement claims against me and other sellers on Amazon as seen in the seller forums: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=3958411

For the purposes of this matter, I consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal DistrictCourt for the judicial district in which I reside. I also consent to service of processby the person providing notification under Section 512(c)(1)(C) or that person’s agent.However, by this letter, I do not waive any other rights, including the ability to pursue anaction for the removal or disabling of access to this material, if wrongful.

Having complied with the requirements of Section 512(g)(3), I remind you that you must now replace the blocked or removed material and cease disabling access to it within fourteen business days of your receipt of this notice. Please notify me when this has been done.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions about this notice, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Attached you will find our authentic invoice showing that we received these products from a reputable distributor.

As mentioned in the original email, I have contacted <retracted>, however, they have not responded to any of our contact attempts.

Sincerely,
STORENAME

Second Email to Amazon

The Schadenfreudist talks about how he sent this letter via certified mail to Amazon's legal department to remove the IP claim, which I intended to do if this email did not work. Here's what Amazon sent back to me:

​Hello,

Based on the information you provided, you may not relist the content at the end of this email.

We may let you list this content again if we receive a retraction from the rights owner. Their contact information can be found below.

<retracted>

If the rights owner agrees to retract the complaint, they must send the retraction to us at [email protected]

If you believe that the reported content does not infringe the rights owner’s intellectual property rights, you may email [email protected] with supporting information.

ASIN: B00A391WW8
Infringement Type: Trade Mark Infringement.
Complaint ID: <retracted>

Sincerely,
Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com

Second Response From Amazon

Yep, they  sent me the exact same "denial" as they did after my first email to them. However, about 4 hours later, I received another email from Amazon:

Hello,

We reviewed your appeal and reinstated the following content:

ASIN: B00A391WW8Title: e-cloth Home Cleaning Set, 8 Piece

Complaint ID: <retracted>

Sincerely,
Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com

Third Response From Amazon

Woohoo! I'm not sure if a higher up may have received my second appeal, if they had a change of heart, or what, but I was glad to see this email from them stating that I could sell on this listing again!

It'd pretty rare that you hear about about a seller winning a bogus IP claim, but after I read The Schadenfreudist's post in the seller forums, I had hope! So, if you're reading this mate, thanks for the template!

Updated Template​

This updated template comes courtesy of Jake from MSP's comment. As a note, none of his template changes or mine constitutes legal advice. Seek legal counsel for formal advice.

Here's the template with his edits:

Dear Copyright Agent,

Please find attached to this letter a list of material removed by you pursuant to 17U.S.C. Section 512. I have a good faith belief that this material was removed or disabledin error as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material. I declare that this is true and accurate.

Tadgreen's claims are invalid. The product represented by ASIN B00A391WW8 is a listing that was created by Amazon and according to Amazon's policy (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200202130), they own the listing which means there is no way to infringe upon Tadgreen's intellectual property.

Tadgreen has a history of submitting false infringement claims against me and other sellers on Amazon as seen in the seller forums: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=3958411

For the purposes of this matter, I consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside. I also consent to service of process by the person providing notification under Section 512(c)(1)(C) or that person’s agent. However, by this letter, I do not waive any other rights, including the ability to pursue an action for the removal or disabling of access to this material, if wrongful.

Having complied with the requirements of Section 512(g)(3), I remind you that you must now replace the blocked or removed material and cease disabling access to it within fourteen business days of your receipt of this notice. Please notify me when this has been done.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions about this notice, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Attached you will find our authentic invoice showing that we received these products from a reputable distributor.

As mentioned in the original email, I have contacted <retracted>, however, they have not responded to any of our contact attempts.

Sincerely,
STORENAME
YOURNAME
(attach a signature sheet)

Second Email to Amazon

Conclusion​

As I stated above, I am not a lawyer and I cannot guarantee the above template will work for you, but it's worth a try in my opinion.

Have you had any luck getting an IP complaint removed? If so, I'd love to hear about it!​

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