- Tortious interference. Essentially, this claim asserts that the brand owner wrongly and intentionally interfered in the business relationship between Amazon and Acme.
- Slander. By stating that Acme was selling counterfeit merchandise, the brand owner slandered the company as a lawbreaker and someone whom nobody should engage in business with.
Here’s where the lawyer’s dismissive comments enter the picture. The attorney for Supplement brand said the entire lawsuit was ridiculous on its face and would never result in an award for Acme.
During our conversation, I pushed back.
“You do realize counterfeiting merchandise is a crime,” I said. “If Supplement had filed an IP claim for trademark or copyright infringement, that claim wouldn’t have been true, either. But calling the product counterfeit raises this to an entirely new level. It was unethical, wrong and puts Acme at risk.”
The lawyer disagreed and then blamed Amazon, rather than his client.
“Supplement had no idea that something like this could happen,” he claimed. “They were just trying to stop the problem.”
And there, my friend, is where Amazon’s blame lies in all this. Because the platform must enforce IP complaints, it has erred on the side of ease for brands. Simply report a problem, and the listing is closed.
Unfortunately, many brand owners don’t seem to comprehend the seriousness of making false reports. And these reports are made – in abundance – every day:
- Brands trying to control distribution lie about IP violations
- Brands concerned about product quality report all sellers on a listing instead of pinpointing bad actors
- Brands rely on lawyers or services to report “bad actor” sellers on their listings, which often results in authorized sellers being reported as well
- Brands don’t recognize storefront names of their authorized sellers and report them
- Brands don’t bother conducting test buys and just call everything “counterfeit”
At the same time, many brand owners honestly don’t understand how enforcement works at Amazon. They likely believe – like Supplement – that their report will only result in a single ASIN being blocked in a seller’s account. They don’t realize that false reports could result in account suspension, permanent closure, destruction of inventory and permanent holding of funds by Amazon.
Should brands have control over their products on Amazon? Brands definitely have cause for concern when their products are counterfeited, sold past expiration dates, sold in terrible condition, bundled in strange combinations, etc. All of these circumstances damage brand equity and dilute value.