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Amazon's new way to deal with patent infringers

Eskil

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For years, Amazon has turned a blind eye to sellers that blatantly infringe on US patents - allowing (mostly Chinese) copycats to steal ideas and profit from them on Amazon. And of course - Amazon has been, and still is, profiting very well from this as well.

My own product fell victim to being copied by the Chinese, and allowed by Amazon to sell there - despite my numerous attempts at requesting a takedown. I learned the hard way that Amazon doesn't (didn't until now) give a shit about you and your patent. I guess they figured they're big enough to where smaller companies wouldn't have the legal resources to fight them - and would just see how long they can get away with this until some day being forced to take action by the government.

I created numerous support tickets, spent hours on the phone with them. Each time, Amazon just told me to "talk to the seller directly", which I of course tried, but they basically ignored me and gave me the virtual middle finger. Amazon support instructed me to try sending a certified letter in the mail with copies of my patent, proof of the blatant similarities and patent claim infringements to their "copyright department" but to no avail. One support rep even told me to "email Jeff Bezos directly" (he gave me his email, lol). As if Jeff sits there and reads emails like that, lol... The fight seemed futile, until now.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS!
I guess Amazon is starting to cave under pressure from countless patent owners like me, as well as pressure from the government to clean up their trade in counterfeit goods, infringed products, etc.

Enter the new Amazon Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation Process.
Some articles about it here and here.

Basically, you prepay them a refundable deposit of $4000 to request an inquiry, along with reference to your utility patent number(s), etc. Then, they reach out the infringing party, who must also pay $4000 to start the inquiry process. Whichever party wins the dispute gets refunded the deposit.

So I emailed them once again of course about my case - and I was pleasantly shocked that a few days later, the infringing listing was GONE! And they didn't even make me pay the deposit fee. :cool: :thumbsup:

So to any of you here that are struggling with patent infringers on Amazon, contact Amazon ASAP about this.
 

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So if what you say is correct they take $8000 off both parties and give the winner his $4k back?

The other $4k is forfeit to Amazon?:wideyed:

I’d quite happily take this responsibility off Amazons shoulders and run the dispute process for them. Sounds like a gold mine.
 

Kak

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What amazes me is that this is pretty effective dispute resolution without government.

Impressive and John Galty.

Amazon proves that an economy can be privatized. It is like a competitive economy within an economy.

Thanks @Eskil for the details!
 

amp0193

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One support rep even told me to "email Jeff Bezos directly" (he gave me his email, lol). As if Jeff sits there and reads emails like that, lol... The fight seemed futile, until now.
It's not Jeff, but there is a team that monitors that inbox. It's where you send emails when you just can't get resolution through the normal support channels.

I think I used it once in the past. I've read of lots of people doing this with some success.

It's not always successful though.


Very cool... I like the $4,000 deposit method!
 

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What amazes me is that this is pretty effective dispute resolution without government.
While it could be an effective way to settle disputes; I'd prefer Amazon to assign an independent team apart from the interest of Amazon so that there isn't any question that the outcome isn't based on sales or profit on it's marketplace. It could be a bit frustrating if Amazon ruled in favor of the knockoff due to minor changes such as color .
 
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Eskil

Eskil

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So if what you say is correct they take $8000 off both parties and give the winner his $4k back?
The other $4k is forfeit to Amazon?:wideyed:
I’d quite happily take this responsibility off Amazons shoulders and run the dispute process for them. Sounds like a gold mine.
Lol yes. Except for the fact that Amazon doesn't really give a shit about your legal team contacting them either. I have talked to a few other sellers that were in my shoes, and they had way more resources than I did. They had tried repeated requests from their lawyers time and again, but eventually gave up. They were considering getting other product owners like me together to form a class action law suit and a big negative press campaign against Amazon about it.

What amazes me is that this is pretty effective dispute resolution without government.

Amazon proves that an economy can be privatized. It is like a competitive economy within an economy.

Thanks @Eskil for the details!
Yeah, Amazon was like "hmm... we're already raking in truckloads of cash breaking US patent law by assisting patent infringers..... but there are patent owners desperate enough to do whatever it takes for it to stop? There is an opportunity here! How about this idea? We can keep selling infringing products AND also make money from offering a paid procedure? SCORE!"
 
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Eskil

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It's not Jeff, but there is a team that monitors that inbox. It's where you send emails when you just can't get resolution through the normal support channels.

I think I used it once in the past. I've read of lots of people doing this with some success.
Ok I basically thought it was a joke, lol. I mean I know top execs have assistants screening their emails and stuff, but clearly even if Jeff or any other top brass at Amazon read it - they would probably just laugh since they are clearly aware of their stance on profiting from counterfeits. Their policy is to do what they can get away with until forced to do otherwise.
 

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For years, Amazon has turned a blind eye to sellers that blatantly infringe on US patents - allowing (mostly Chinese) copycats to steal ideas and profit from them on Amazon. And of course - Amazon has been, and still is, profiting very well from this as well.

My own product fell victim to being copied by the Chinese, and allowed by Amazon to sell there - despite my numerous attempts at requesting a takedown. I learned the hard way that Amazon doesn't (didn't until now) give a shit about you and your patent. I guess they figured they're big enough to where smaller companies wouldn't have the legal resources to fight them - and would just see how long they can get away with this until some day being forced to take action by the government.

I created numerous support tickets, spent hours on the phone with them. Each time, Amazon just told me to "talk to the seller directly", which I of course tried, but they basically ignored me and gave me the virtual middle finger. Amazon support instructed me to try sending a certified letter in the mail with copies of my patent, proof of the blatant similarities and patent claim infringements to their "copyright department" but to no avail. One support rep even told me to "email Jeff Bezos directly" (he gave me his email, lol). As if Jeff sits there and reads emails like that, lol... The fight seemed futile, until now.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS!
I guess Amazon is starting to cave under pressure from countless patent owners like me, as well as pressure from the government to clean up their trade in counterfeit goods, infringed products, etc.

Enter the new Amazon Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation Process.
Some articles about it here and here.

Basically, you prepay them a refundable deposit of $4000 to request an inquiry, along with reference to your utility patent number(s), etc. Then, they reach out the infringing party, who must also pay $4000 to start the inquiry process. Whichever party wins the dispute gets refunded the deposit.

So I emailed them once again of course about my case - and I was pleasantly shocked that a few days later, the infringing listing was GONE! And they didn't even make me pay the deposit fee. :cool: :thumbsup:

So to any of you here that are struggling with patent infringers on Amazon, contact Amazon ASAP about this.
Classic. Amazon now has a referral network of attorneys, so I am sure Amazon has a flat rate worked out with an attorney for a patent review of like $2k. So, for every one of these that Amazon cleans up, Amazon makes $2k and the attorneys make $2k and the patent holder gets a full refund. The infringers will just melt away. They're not going to post a $4k bond to lose a fight.
 

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What amazes me is that this is pretty effective dispute resolution without government.

Impressive and John Galty.

Amazon proves that an economy can be privatized. It is like a competitive economy within an economy.

Thanks @Eskil for the details!
I've always felt like 90% of what the government does could be handled by an app.
 

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Then, they reach out the infringing party, who must also pay $4000 to start the inquiry process.
Um, am I being dumb, if the infringing party aren't interested in an inquiry taking place (for obvious reasons) why would they pay this? Are they forbidden from selling further on Amazon until they solve this? Can they just ignore this?
 

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Kak

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While it could be an effective way to settle disputes; I'd prefer Amazon to assign an independent team apart from the interest of Amazon so that there isn't any question that the outcome isn't based on sales or profit on it's marketplace. It could be a bit frustrating if Amazon ruled in favor of the knockoff due to minor changes such as color .
I would say if Amazon makes the wrong call they are exposing themselves to real legal proceedings. So it probably in their best interest to uphold the patent protections.

Otherwise I think this makes amazon the infringing party. A much bigger lawsuit target than a 3rd party seller.
 
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Eskil

Eskil

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Um, am I being dumb, if the infringing party aren't interested in an inquiry taking place (for obvious reasons) why would they pay this? Are they forbidden from selling further on Amazon until they solve this? Can they just ignore this?
The infringing party essentially have two options:
A) Ignore the request, but have their listing at least temporarily taken down until they want to fight it for $4k.
or..
B) Try to fight it right away, but then pay up the $4k for a chance to defend themselves.

In most cases, they will probably lose. Amazon wins either way.
 

Tourmaline

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I've always felt like 90% of what the government does could be handled by an app.
ahhahahahahaha

Including the job of President!

maybe not that far. yet...
 

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This is why I am no longer interested in selling physical products any more. Amazon is such a dominant force you pretty much have no choice but to list your products on there. You then are forced to jump through all their hoops.

My past experiences have been painful. I've had competitors latch on to our listings, change the image to something totally difference then price us out of the market on something we don't even sell just because that listing was in a dominate position and had great feedback ratings. By the time you eventually get the listing back the feedback is trashed due to the rubbish product and they are off to ruin someone else's hard work.

It's almost impossible to speak to someone with any ability to make a decision and when you eventually work your way up to someone who is interested and has a level of clout you get a call a few days later to say their boss overruled it.

The last time we had a competitor latch on and take over a listing I made a purchase off them, took a video opening the package and showing that what they were selling was totally at odds to the listing and reported it to Amazon. Phoned them every few days and still months later despite all the promises they still did nothing.

Sad to see the account closed as there was close to 16,000 feedback on it but things move on.
 
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Eskil

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It's almost impossible to speak to someone with any ability to make a decision and when you eventually work your way up to someone who is interested and has a level of clout you get a call a few days later to say their boss overruled it.

The last time we had a competitor latch on and take over a listing I made a purchase off them, took a video opening the package and showing that what they were selling was totally at odds to the listing and reported it to Amazon. Phoned them every few days and still months later despite all the promises they still did nothing.
Yeah this is sadly often the case. They have made it VERY hard for sellers to contact them anymore. They used to have a dedicated seller support department, with reps, a separate phone number, etc. - but that all got closed down. They're pretty much all devoted to consumers and sales now. Sellers and entrepreneurs like us are left to fend for ourselves.

You're forced to go through the regular customer service and asked to be forwarded. Then you're given the runaround to some person half across the world who can hardly speak legible English - who will then tell you they will "look into it and get back to you" or "escalate the matter" which of course never happens. They simply don't care.

With physical products on Amazon, it's best to have your very own product that is yours alone so no one can list underneath you. And now, if you have a patent - you at least have a better way of remaining exclusive on there if a copycat shows up.
 

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You're forced to go through the regular customer service and asked to be forwarded. Then you're given the runaround to some person half across the world who can hardly speak legible English - who will then tell you they will "look into it and get back to you" or "escalate the matter" which of course never happens. They simply don't care.

Sounds like things have changed a lot in the two years I've been off Amazon.

My trick at the time was to go through the support tree to the section on "need help with flat file upload". As those inventory spreadsheets are fairly complicated and technical I would more often than not go direct to an American. Then I would just ask them about whatever I really wanted help with (sometimes it was with those spreadsheets).
 

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Sounds like things have changed a lot in the two years I've been off Amazon.

My trick at the time was to go through the support tree to the section on "need help with flat file upload". As those inventory spreadsheets are fairly complicated and technical I would more often than not go direct to an American. Then I would just ask them about whatever I really wanted help with (sometimes it was with those spreadsheets).
Sneaky, I like your way of thinking. :smile2:

I've always likened Amazon support to an onion, loads of layers and the top two or three are basically paper. I used to keep a list of direct numbers of the most useful people I came across. The trouble was you'd find someone who was really good and then they would get promoted in short order and moved deeper into the onion so you'd never hear from them again.

Did I say onion? Sometimes it felt more like the Death Star with about 1000 TIE Fighters defending it.

They used to have a dedicated seller support department, with reps, a separate phone number, etc. - but that all got closed down.
I can't believe they took away what little support they offered. Jeff Vader?

27957
 

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Imagine if we had gotten together to make a cringey course back in 2015 lol..
Haha, yes, cringey grey-hat shit. Add in some of @JasonR 's questionable-at-best tactics and we could've made a fine course.

"How to combine all of your competitors listings into one, using a simple file upload"

"How to get your friend to leave you a video review and then make one of your product images a screencap with a triangle on it with a caption to see video below". Classic @James Fend

"How to get hundreds of reviews by giving away lots of products to moms in a facebook group with a primadonna admin in exchange for $1"

"How to do a removal order of your banned product and send it back in as a child variation of the same product".

"How to make an Amazon Vendor Express account to sneak into AMS and run headline ads and then never send Amazon any product".

"How to get ungated in Health & Personal Care by going to walmart and buying $100 worth of soap, toothpaste, and viatamins". I'm still using the soap!

"How to sell your drug paraphernalia by labeling it as kitchen equipment"

"How to sneak an image into the product description using an iframe html"

"How to add 2000 extra backend keywords into your listing using an inventory flat file".

"How to rig your Feedbackz™ follow up sequence to take 5-star customers to the product review page and everyone else to the seller feedback page... so you can easily delete all negative reviews"

"How to make a profit by ignoring Amazon listing guidelines for photos, titles, descriptions and everything else"

"How to run ads to multiple products for the same keyword so you get 80% of the available ad real estate"


You got anymore? I'd tag Byron and Luke in here if I remembered their forum names!
 

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@amp0193 ohhhh my.... all that brings me tears.

But... that's NOT all folks!! If you enroll within 72 hours,... we'll throw in a bonus course to solve the best good problem you'll ever face using our methods!

Running out of inventory a week after you send in the replenishment you spent 8 hours calculating would last you 2 months.

"How to run out of stock for 6 weeks, and pick up daily sales right where you left off without losing any rank"
 

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It was the wild west... good times.
Man, it was... I reflect on various things I would have done different. Mainly; I should have brought a fleet of tractors while gold was still laying in plain sight lol.

Anyways; sorry for hi-jacking the thread @Eskil

This is great news in my opinion for sellers and landscape in general! I think Amazon has been doing some great things and interesting to watch how Amazon has overcome and continuing to overcome all the growing pains (except their growing pain is literally going from not-top-20 public value company to the very top in 4-5 years including overtaking the richest man in the world.. yikes!)
 
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Eskil

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Haha, yes, cringey grey-hat shit. Add in some of @JasonR 's questionable-at-best tactics and we could've made a fine course.

You got anymore? I'd tag Byron and Luke in here if I remembered their forum names!
Not many people here know this but I developed a script, with underlying code on a web server interface that I controlled and where you could input parameters and watch progress. This script was actually able to boost rankings of any listing. This was before Amazon introduced the minimum $ purchase, and you could place orders with a 100% off discount code.

My system, which I called ASRB, worked like a charm for a while. You would give it an ASIN, and load up the database with proxies and generated "customer" names, along with addresses, and even generated, yet valid UPS shipping codes that Amazon confirmed as real, lol. It would generate $0 orders at random intervals, from random "customers", and the "sales" would affect that listings sales rank and thus, ranking. It could take brand new listings and rank them for keywords you wanted to rank for.

I later shared this with this with @JasonR and @LightHouse and I remember many interesting conversations on all the potential, lol

27966
(a shitty logo I made for when I considered building this out as a very limited member service lol)

Of course, Amazon caught on to tactics like this and enforced a minimum purchase amount (minimum fee per order to them), making it harder to scale unless you had deep pockets for each project.
 

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Haha, yes, cringey grey-hat shit. Add in some of @JasonR 's questionable-at-best tactics and we could've made a fine course.
Hey! Those "tactics" made me a lot of money! :p

In all seriousness, I never F*cked with anyone else's listings, but I did participate in some early on rank manipulation.

I'm happy to report with the current business - no questionable tactics or marketing hacks. Just good products and hard work.

I know you're messing with me Aaron ;)

PS: The discounted MF orders don't work any more and haven't for a long time. No doubt Chinese sellers are still gaming the system, somehow but I strongly advise against it.

Also, amazon rewards you if you send traffic to their listings, but it's got to be a TON of traffic. They may have changed things recently - I haven't tested this in a long time either.

Also, my focus isn't on Amazon any more. Build a business - don't build a scheme to game a single traffic channel.
 
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amp0193

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Not many people here know this but I developed a script, with underlying code on a web server interface that I controlled and where you could input parameters and watch progress. This script was actually able to boost rankings of any listing. This was before Amazon introduced the minimum $ purchase, and you could place orders with a 100% off discount code.
What a time to be alive. @Eskil you are a king!

This is the kind of stuff we were always trying to figure out.

We knew there were tricks out there.


I know there was some trick for a while with prepaid visa gifts cards and fake merchant fulfilled orders as well... Never used it personally. Once I started making some real money, I became more cautious about my behavior on the platform.
 

amp0193

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Hey! Those "tactics" made me a lot of money! :p

In all seriousness, I never F*cked with anyone else's listings, but I did participate in some early on rank manipulation.
Hey... you do what you gotta do (and what you can get away with!)

I'm happy to report with the current business - no questionable tactics or marketing hacks. Just good products and hard work.
You and me both. Gone legitimate!
 

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Not many people here know this but I developed a script, with underlying code on a web server interface that I controlled and where you could input parameters and watch progress. This script was actually able to boost rankings of any listing. This was before Amazon introduced the minimum $ purchase, and you could place orders with a 100% off discount code
I tried this the hard way :) No scripts were used. I had some dudes in Bangladesh place orders and created a simple excel spreadsheet that generated valid UPS tracking numbers for fulfillment confirmations. That didn't last very long though :)
 

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You all are sharing a lot of info on a very public forum :wideyed:
 

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