Amazon currently operates a program to deal with utility patent infringement through an arbitration process, to balance between the rights of complainants and sellers. Our firm has successfully represented patent owners and sellers through this proceeding.
The program requires an application and doesn’t apply to each case. It allows the patent holder to file a complaint against an infringing product on Amazon.
Here’s how it works:
- The patent owner files a complaint with Amazon against the alleged infringing product
- Amazon informs the seller of the complaint, and from this moment the seller has 21 days to respond
- In order to respond the seller must:
a. Agree to participate in an arbitration proceeding focused solely on the question of infringement
b. Pay $4,000 in arbitration fees to a neutral patent practitioner will be chosen by Amazon
* If the seller does not respond to the complaint Amazon will remove the product.
- After the seller responds to the complaint, the patent owner is also required to pay $4,000 in arbitration fees
- The arbitrator receives the details of the case and decides on the question of infringement within approximately two months. Amazon will remove or maintain the listing according to the arbitrator’s decision.
- The “winner” of the arbitration proceeding will receive their $4,000 back, while the “loser’s” $4,000 will be retained as the arbitrator’s fee.
Essentially, Amazon offers a patent infringement fast-track resolution system, which allows owners to remove an infringing product relatively quickly. This also allows Amazon to refrain from deciding on complex infringement issues and leave that to a professional arbitrator.
Not every seller can afford such a costly proceeding, which gives an advantage to deep-pocketed patent owners.