Most product marketers and distributors have likely had to deal with counterfeit products being sold on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay, among others. Although some counterfeit goods and knockoffs are obviously fake, others use the original product’s copyrighted images and trademarks, making it hard for consumers to distinguish a fake from the original. As a result, the product owner can suffer serious economic harm, as many consumers turn to these sites to purchase products. The good news is, most of them, including Amazon and eBay, have systems in place for reporting and subsequently removing infringing listings. The bad news is, these systems are somewhat ineffective for permanently removing serious, repeat infringers.
When dealing with infringement on Amazon and eBay, the process usually goes something like this: you search for your product on the platform and find an unauthorized listing (or oftentimes, several) that displays your trademark and images from your product website. You (or your attorney) fill out the infringement report provided by the platform, and typically within 48 hours you receive the notice that a reported listing has been removed.
Unfortunately, in many instances, the listing goes right back up because the seller is not prohibited from relisting a product after being reported and removed for infringement. Thus, takedowns become a frustrating game of whack-a-mole until it ultimately becomes apparent that the infringer is not giving up.
In these situations, copyrights become the product owner’s greatest intellectual property asset. If the infringer is using images, videos or text from the product website or infomercial, you can request a subpoena from the clerk of any United States district court for the identification of the infringer, without filing a civil action. Although this may seem like a tedious process, it can be much more efficient than continuously reporting the same infringers.
Digital Law Group has takedown experience on Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, and has issued subpoenas for seller information.
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