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The Importance Of Design Patents For Amazon Sellers
Amazon is the preferred e-commerce platform for sellers who seek to expand the reach of their business. It helps garner a larger audience and makes your product reach the masses with fair ease.
Understandably, everyone wants a piece of this pie, and this results in excessive competition among sellers. But if your product is unique and has secured a design patent, you can trim rivals from the platform for amazon design patent infringement. Let us explore design patents and how they can enhance your revenue on Amazon.
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What Is A Design Patent?
A design patent gives you exclusive rights and legal protection over the novel visual appearance or qualities of a manufactured item. It protects the ornamental looks of an article and prevents others from making, using, or selling it without permission.
Given that functionality is not a criterion for a design patent, it becomes clear that it can be obtained for both tech and non-tech articles. It is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a period of 14 years.
The Role Of IPR On Amazon
Patents confer exclusive rights which recognize the invention of the creator and prevent others from copying it. When you are selling on a mega platform like Amazon, a design patent is a valuable asset because:
- It distinguishes your products from the others
- Prevents sellers from copying your designs and selling similar-looking products.
Amazon patents take design patent infringement cases very seriously and severe action is taken against infringements. So, before you decide to sell on the platform it is advisable to run a thorough check in the Amazon Registry and identify products that might be similar to yours. The amazon IP protection rules on patent infringement can result in the suspension of an account, lost profits, and financial losses if damages are to be paid.
Report IP Infringement Amazon
If you have a design patent and discover someone selling counterfeit products on the platform you can adopt the following ways to enforce patented products on Amazon:
- Filling the Infringement Form: Aggrieved sellers may fill out a form provided on the Amazon platform to report infringement. The form requires you to furnish ASINs, patent registration number, and contact details among others. Once submitted, it undergoes scrutiny by the legal team, and if found accurate, then the seller is immediately de-listed from the platform. This is the simplest way to enforce your design patent on the platform.
- Amazon Brand Registry: By enrolling your business in the ABR, you get access to conduct an image and text search to reveal any infringement on your products. You can then send a notice with infringement details to Amazon for further action on the defaulting party.
- Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX): Launched in 2022, this program helps U.S patent owners with a quick and easy mechanism to resolve Amazon design patent infringement disputes. It uses a third-party attorney to determine if an infringement has occurred. The winner does not have to pay any fees and can continue selling on the platform. However, it is only applicable to utility patents and is by invitation only.
Why Apply For A Design Patent?
A design patent makes it easier to sell on Amazon without the nagging fear of your product being copied. Here are 3 compelling reasons to apply for a design patent:
- It keeps your reputation intact. Not being embroiled in infringement cases builds people’s faith in your brand and gives it a clean and trustworthy image.
- Your designs stay protected. Amazon is accessible to millions of people, some of whom might try to profit from your ideas. By owning a patent, you can prevent this from happening.
- Helps save your profits from being lost to counterfeit products that dupe customers.
Damages You May Claim For Amazon Design Patent Infringement
If a business has been found guilty of infringing your design, you can claim one or all of the below in the form of damages:
- Lost Profits: If your attorney can successfully prove that your business suffered losses due to the activity of the infringer, you are eligible for retrieving the estimated lost profits. Lost profit refers to the amount of money you could have made had it not been for the counterfeit product.
- Royalties: Reasonable royalties are the least in damages that you can get as Amazon IP protection. It is an estimate of the damages in a patent infringement case based on the price the licensee would have paid in case of a hypothetical negotiation.
- Total Profits: Staking a claim to the entire profits earned by the defaulter through sales of the patented product is another remedy available to patent owners. This could be a significant amount depending on the sales and popularity of the product.
What To Do If You Receive A Faulty Patent Infringement Notice?
Unscrupulous sellers may initiate a wrongful notice or sometimes a lack of proper knowledge and information may cause them to issue Amazon IP protection. Even if the notice is incorrect, the seller is obligated to complete a lengthy and time-consuming procedure that involves replying to the notification and submitting an appeal to retract the notice. Below is a short checklist compiled to help you deal with such situations:
- Use the patent number to check if it is still valid.
- Scrutinize the patent claim to see if any similarities exist between the two products.
- Conduct a thorough comparison of the design patent image with your product.
The supreme benefits of design patents are evident from the above discussion. If you have decided to showcase your products on Amazon, then it makes good business sense to avail the benefits that stem from owning a design patent. Remember to seek the services of an expert law firm to guide you through the complex procedure of getting a design patent, as well as to assist you when you need it enforced.
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