What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind. This includes plans, ideas, or inventions that are intangible products or assets. When one owns or has exclusive rights to these assets, it is considered intellectual property. These rights allow owners to protect their work and ensure that they are only used with authorization first.

What Does Intellectual Property Include?

Intellectual property includes copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. A copyright is a legal right of ownership given to the creator of a particular product. Copyrights are automatically issued upon the creation of the product but can also be officially registered and stated in a public record with the Copyright Office.  More information on copyrighting can be found here.

Having a patent on something means to give the inventor rights of ownership on his invention for a set period of time. Patents are different from copyrights in that they are solely meant for intangible assets like ideas, inventions, and innovations. On the other hand, copyrights are issued to products directly and don’t include the original ideas or plans. They both still provide protection of ownership; the distinction is only on which type of works they protect.

A trademark is an icon or phrase that denotes a certain brand or company. Trademarks include slogans and brand logos, as outlined here. Trade secrets are methods or formulas that are private to a company and cannot be shared with the public. If trade secrets were to be leaked, serious allegations could arise from the organization who owns them. It’s important to outline that all of these types of intellectual property require permission before being used in any way- if this is violated, then the owner has a right to file intellectual property infringement claims against the violator.

What is a Counterfeit Item?

A counterfeit item is one that has been copied from another genuine item, with the intent to deceive someone. Counterfeit items can include everyday things like dollar bills. If one has a counterfeit $100 bill, then they are essentially forging a bill to make it look real. Then they can use the fake money to deceive others and purchase items. Another common example of a counterfeit item can be counterfeit shoes. Popular brands such as Nike and Jordan are often replicated by malicious people to sell them for a high price. These counterfeit items often get sold easily as well since some shoes are created only in rare quantities. Only a maximum number of shoes are available, and they are very popular. Therefore, counterfeiting shoes and selling them for a high price can give some mischievous sellers a large profit through an illegal means.

What is Intellectual Property Counterfeit Infringement?

Counterfeit is a method of deception where one purposely imitates a legitimate product in hopes to gain more sales, without any authorization from the owner. When it comes to intellectual property counterfeit, it means that someone is imitating one of more of the intellectual property categories and reselling the product for themselves. It could be that someone violated copyright laws and ended up selling an item which had a copyright on it without the owner’s permission. Another situation is where someone could violate trademarks and use them for their own businesses, like using a logo for their own products. These situations have become widespread online, but Amazon has put measures in place to try and stop them by allowing organizations to report potential infringement behavior through a “report infringement” form.

Penalties for IP Counterfeit Infringement Claims

Lots of times, sellers are accused of engaging in infringement activities that are related to intellectual property. These accusations may not be entirely true, or only be a misunderstanding. Nevertheless, Amazon takes heavy measures towards those who have been accused. Firstly, product ASINs are under threat of being suspended. ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number and it is used to distinguish one product from another. The number is unique for each product and is issued to every item on Amazon. The reason why ASIN suspension is dangerous is because without an ASIN for each product you want to list, Amazon will not accept the listing as legitimate. The ASIN is an essential part to your listing, and without it, you cannot sell your products.

Another action that Amazon will take against your account if you’ve been accused of IP counterfeit infringement is to suspend your account entirely. This is a grave penalty because once your account is suspended, you can no longer use it to sell any items- whether you have ASINs for them or not. When your account is suspended, your selling is on pause, funds are on hold, and you can no longer use it until you have it back. On top of the suspension, Amazon limits you to 17 days to refute the IP counterfeit infringement claim. These heavy penalties for an accusation- that may not even be true- can get overwhelming and frustrating. However, it’s important to refute against them to keep your account safe.

If You’re A Victim of an IP Counterfeit Infringement Claim

Unfortunately, if someone is accused of IP counterfeit infringement, their product ASINs as well as their whole Amazon account could be suspended and eventually deactivated due to those claims. It may be that the accusations are false and have no basis, therefore it is up to the accused to provide proof to defend themselves from the claims. Amazon has steps for sellers to take to prove themselves innocent, but they can sometimes be denied until the proper documents and format is given. Amazon requires accused sellers to submit an appeal stating what happened and how they can change themselves. Within the 17 days, sellers must complete the appeal and provide it in the expected format that Amazon wants. These tasks can get out of hand very quickly and worry you about the survival of your account, but turning to professionals for assistance can ease the load. Our professionals save Amazon seller accounts on a daily basis and know exactly how to refute the claims. Contact us to learn more information and finally reclaim your product ASINs and Amazon account.