How to Protect Your Amazon Listings From Copycats

Some of the ecommerce giant's attempts to address the problem

Whac-A-Mole
Amazon has a Code of Conduct for its sellers and services for brands looking to distinguish legitimate products from counterfeit ones. Illustration: Thomas Burden
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

There are two ways to sell products—your own or someone else’s—on Amazon: directly, under your company’s name, or by selling to Amazon, which sells for you. There’s also a hybrid option in which a brand or seller sells some SKUs to Amazon and sells others on the platform itself.

Amazon has established a Code of Conduct for its sellers. Among the stipulations, Amazon sellers must provide accurate information to Amazon and its customers; not misuse features or services; not attempt to damage or abuse other sellers, listings or ratings; not attempt to influence customer ratings, feedback or reviews; and not operate more than one selling account on Amazon without “a legitimate business need.”

Amazon also offers services for brands looking to protect their listings and to distinguish legitimate products from counterfeit ones.

An Amazon spokesperson says one such service, the Brand Registry program, is designed to help rights owners report infringement and counterfeit items—and notes that the more than 130,000 participating brands are reporting 99% fewer suspected infringements than before the service launched.

In a newer program, called Transparency, brands apply codes to their products. The spokesperson says Transparency launched in the U.S. two years ago. More than 6,000 brands have enrolled and, in 2018, Amazon detected more than 300,000 counterfeit products (and prevented them from being shipped to customers).

She also says Amazon is piloting the Amazon Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation process, which allows utility patent owners “to more efficiently and effectively address suspected infringers [and] gives sellers a forum to contest accusations and significantly reduces the time and cost burden on both parties.”


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This story first appeared in the Feb. 10, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.
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