What Are Trademarks?
Trademarks are symbols, phrases, or key words that are used to recognize a brand. Trademarks are useful because through a particular symbol or group of words, someone could quickly and easily recognize your brand and product. Companies and business use trademarks abundantly to help people recognize their brands- in fact it is quite the norm to register a trademark for your brand or organization as soon as you build one. Consumers recognize trademarks every day from the very products they own.
Trademarks are found just about everywhere. They are in our homes, on our clothes, as well as on billboards on the roads. They are often used for advertisement and marketing purposes- and they work very effectively. A trademark can be an icon, such as a smiley face, to denote an organization. A trademark can also be a logo, which corresponds to the company, like an apple with a bite in it to symbolize Apple Inc. Trademarks also include words or phrases that are meant to help recognize a company’s vision. This type of trademark is called a slogan, and an example would be “Just Do It” from Nike. All of these examples are trademarks which have been registered for each company and allow people to quickly associate the trademark with the organization.
What Makes a Trademark Different from a Copyright?
If you’ve heard of trademarks, chances are you’ve also heard of copyrights. Copyrights differ from trademarks in that they protect different things. So as trademarks protect symbols and phrases, copyrights instead protect entire works like books or movies. Copyrights are used to protect the distribution of a work, instead of a trademark where the point is to avoid a clone of it. You can read more about copyrights and copyright infringement claims here.
The point of a trademark is to help people indicate a certain brand or product when they see them. However, if the trademark is being copied by another company, or shows a great deal of similarity, it can confuse a consumer into thinking that the trademark they are looking at is associated with a certain brand, while in fact it could a completely different brand. This type of confusion can be deceitful and is something that is taken seriously. For this reason, trademark infringement was recognized to prevent people from copying others’ trademarks for their own brands and misleading consumers.
Trademark Infringement Claims
A trademark owner can accuse someone of trademark infringement if they notice someone else using a similar trademark such as a logo or phrase that is associated with the trademark owner’s company. For example, someone can misspell a brand name just slightly, like Coca Cola to Coco Cola, to misinform people about the seller. In this case, the trademark owner can sue for wrongfully confusing and misleading consumers and even earn money for potential loss in sales. They can also try to stop the trademark infringer from using the trademark again so that misleading and confusion is prevented in the future. On Amazon, trademark infringement claims can be used to prevent a seller from using a particular trademark because of potential confusion it could be causing consumers about the true seller of the brand.
Saving Your Amazon Account from Trademark Infringement
Copying symbols and logos and using them to trick consumers into thinking that one brand is another is malicious behavior and goes against Amazon’s policies. Because of these activities, Amazon has a section to report cases of trademark infringements. Using this form, sellers can stop the usage of their trademarks on other brands. However, if this incorrect and a false infringement claim, then you might suffer the consequences of the claim for no reason. Amazon could potentially suspend your ASINs for each product you sell that fall under the trademark infringement claim. This means that when you try to sell your products, the listings will be invalid unless you have your ASINs back. ASINs are Amazon Standard Identification Numbers, and they are the key to allowing you to list your product. Without them, you will no longer be able to sell your products until they’ve been returned to you.
Not only does Amazon take action against your individual products, but they can also suspend your entire account, making it unusable. This means that sales stop completely, which can cause you a huge loss in your income. The suspension will last for 17 days, and within this time frame, sellers are required to submit an appeal to try and refute the claim. Additional steps may be required depending on how significant the case is. After the 17 days, if you are unable to successfully refute the trademark infringement claim, then your entire Amazon account- from your product listings to your funds- will be lost completely, and you will lose all your privileges to sell.
How to Get Your Account Back Before It’s Too Late
If you’ve been accused of being an infringer, your product ASINs are at stake, as well as your whole Amazon account, therebefore it’s important to take the necessary steps to prove your innocence and avoid this in the future. Amazon notifies sellers via email if they’ve been accused of trademark infringement from another organization. Within the email are steps to take to refute the claim and restore your Amazon privileges. The steps to remediate this may include hiring an attorney, going to court, providing sufficient documentation, and having to appeal guilty or not guilty. These can all be intimidating procedures to go through alone, especially within the brief 17-day time limit.
Fortunately our team of experts are here to help you win your case and secure your Amazon account. We have trained professionals working on a daily basis to help sellers prove their innocence from false claims. Our services can aid you in the process from the very beginning. We’ll be with you each step of the way and provide the best methods to reclaiming your account. By the end of the appeal process, you’ll have your product ASINs back, as well as your Amazon account. Contact us to find out how you can regain your privileges and keep selling.