How to handle Intellectual Property (IP) Violations on your Amazon Seller Account

As an online or retail arbitrage seller whose entire business model is to flip products for a profit on Amazon, one of the hurdles you might face in your FBA journey is IP complaints.

What is an IP Complaint?

Intellectual Property (IP) claims are formal complaints from intellectual property owners through Amazon stating that a seller is unlawfully using their intellectual property.

A handful of brands don't want third-party sellers reselling their products on marketplaces like Amazon and to prevent this, they file an IP claim through Amazon to stop you from selling the product.

How to prevent IP claims on your Amazon account & helpful tools to use

There are certain red flags to look out for when sourcing profitable deals to list on your Amazon seller account. Any of these points could indicate that you could get an IP claim if you list the product

  1. There’s only one seller on the listing and the seller is the brand
  2. There's a sudden drop in sellers
  3. The product's price on Amazon has been steady for months.

There's only 1 seller on the listing and the seller is the brand

1 FBA or FBM seller could signify that the brand is reporting every other seller who tries to jump on the listing. The product could also be a Private Label.

On Keepa premium, you can see the number of offers (or sellers) on a listing just below the price history chart. You can also see a compressed version of the chart on SellerAmp but it's not as visible.

Below is a screenshot from SellerAmp extension showing that there’s only one FBA offer on this listing.

There’s a sudden drop in sellers

Looking at the chart; if it seems like there was a huge seller dropoff - that is, there were a number of sellers on that listing then overnight, a handful of them dropped off, its a potential IP danger as its very likely that the brand is reporting other sellers on the listing.

On Keepa premium, you can see the number of offers (or sellers) on a listing just below the price history chart. You can also see a compressed version of the chart on SellerAmp but it's not as visible.

The product’s price on Amazon has been steady for months. Typically, with a lot of Amazon listings, the price history is hardly straight but slightly goes up or down - because there are a handful of sellers engaging in their price wars. If the price history is a straight line, It might be because a single brand is controlling the price. This is also quite common in cases where Amazon has the buy box.

This Keepa chart shows the product has stayed at £39.99 for three months and this is primarily because there’s just 1 seller on the listing.

RELATED: The Best Online Arbitrage Sourcing Tools

Tools that can help you spot potential IP claims

  1. Keepa
  2. SellerAmp
  3. IP Alert

Keepa - for price history and seller history. Pricing - Free version is available. To enjoy their full features (like the number of sellers on the listing or buybox history), you need a monthly subscription of 19 €

SellerAmp or alternative - shows sellers on the listing (plus a smaller Keepa chart) and it also shows an alert window which will notify you of potential IP claims. Pricing - From £11.95 monthly. Free trial available

IP Alert- Reportedly more effective than SellerAmp’s alert window, IP alert is a Chrome extension that will scan Amazon products on Amazon and immediately alert you (via a popup) if the product is notorious for IP claims. Pricing - $99/year or $199 for lifetime access.

Will an Intellectual Property claim get your account suspended?

A first time IP claim will definitely not get your account suspended. In most cases, you simply won’t be able to sell the specific ASINs until the claim is resolved.

However, if you get several IP claims on your account, your Amazon seller account will be suspended and you’d have to write a Plan of Action to get it back.

Because it’s not clear exactly how many IP claims you can have before your selling rights are revoked, you need to take the claims seriously and work towards having them removed.

How to remove IP Complaints from your seller account

Amazon takes IP claims very seriously so if you receive one on your account, the best bet is to tackle and resolve it. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

Here are helpful steps to take to remove IP complaints from your Amazon seller account

  1. Respond to the rights owner - The rights owner is the person who filed the IP complaint with Amazon. Their name and contact information will be included in the Amazon notification. You want to respond to them by stating the following:

    a. you received the complaint
    b. If you thoroughly looked through the complaint and found that there is no basis for it, you can state that you did nothing wrong.
    c. Include proof in form of an invoice or any other documentation that the product you purchased is new, authentic and purchased from an authorized seller
    d. Ask for retraction of the complaint
  2. Wait for a response from the rights owner - there are bizarre cases on Amazon where an IP complaint was filed by accident. In this case, the complaint will be retracted and the strike removed from your account. However, it is more likely that you will not get a response.
  3. If no response is received, appeal to Amazon by going to your Account Health page and providing the necessary documentation. If Amazon finds that you’re not in violation, your selling rights will be reinstated.

Alternatively, you could remove the ASINs from your inventory and notify Amazon of this. However, there are theories that if you remove a flagged ASIN without resolving it, the strike on your account remains even though it's no longer visible on your account health and it could pile up and lead to an account suspension.

IP Complaint vs Brand Restrictions - are IP complaints the same as brand restrictions?

A brand restriction is a type of Amazon restriction where you’re required to go through a brand approval process on Amazon before you can list those brand products. Getting brand approval on Amazon might lead you to believe that you have official permission from the brand to sell that product. But that’s not the case.

You can still get an IP violation on a brand you’re approved to sell. Think of the brand approval process as a way of thinning out sellers who could possibly list the product while cease and desist IP violation seeks to put a stop to all sellers.

How to spot legit IP claims.

There have been situations where competitors tried to scare other sellers off a product by sending cease and desist messages claiming to be a brand owner.

However, legitimate Intellectual Property alerts come in 2 forms:

  • An official email from Amazon notifying you of the complaint. This email will typically state the infringement type, complaint ID as well as the contact details of the rights owner
  • A performance notification in Amazon Seller Central. It will typically be here - Performance > Account Health > Product Policy Compliance > Received Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property violations are one of the many metrics that could negatively impact your Amazon account health and ignoring it could get your account suspended so be sure to take the necessary steps to resolve IP claims.

Ometere Ikpegor

Ometere Ikpegor