Amazon business rules are quite stringent and merciless, especially when it comes to governmental concerns. These strict rules not only protect sellers but as well as customers so that they don’t get caught in any fraudulent activities. One of the most reported problems by the seller is a parallel import. This is an importing issue which the sellers face while the products are selling to different countries.
Nonetheless, there are robust IP rights of products available for sale in the European Economic Area (EEA) or UK market.
It is high time that sellers should start focusing on Parallel importation. Undoubtedly, it is one of the problems about which sellers need to educate themself if they want to be successful Amazon sellers. We believe some sellers have no prior knowledge about it. But they need not fret over this.
That’s what we are here for. Right? We will educate you about parallel imports through this blog post.
What is a parallel import on Amazon?
Parallel imports on Amazon entail the import and distribution of authentic trademarked products by third parties instead of the trademark owner. These products are imported into the country through a route other than a usual import route approved by the manufacturer.
Because the rights owner has the right to curb you from selling their products. This prohibition distresses even if the rights owner allocates the same product type in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The consequences of getting caught in this can lead to strict actions against. When a seller is caught in such illicit activities then amazon may request the rights owner to remove product listings from Amazon’s EU marketplaces for IP infringement.
Parallel import on Amazon of goods sent outside the European market for sale in the EEA with the owner’s approval could still influence customer experience if the non-EEA product differs from the EEA interpretation.
However, the UK laws are very much identical to the EEA. Along with this, IP rights owners may prevent sellers from importing or selling their products in the UK.
It is significant to remember that an owner has full authority to prohibit the sale of an article that the seller has sourced in the UK in Amazon’s European marketplaces outside the UK if he has not licensed the sale of that product in the EEA.
How to make sure that sellers are not selling illegal parallel import goods?
Parallel imports are often mistaken for pirated or counterfeit goods. Parallel imports are genuine whereas pirated or counterfeit goods are fake versions of products made by people but not the original manufacturer. Amazon’s EU marketplaces is a marketplace from where you have either imported products with the right owner’s consent, or have sourced directly or indirectly from a manufacturer which is approved by the right owner to import the products into the EEA and UK marketplace.
Note: If the rights owner has problems with your sales of non-EEA products, you will have to verify that these were imported into the EEA and UK with the rights owner’s approval. Please make sure to keep the invoices, authorization letters and many more.
What to do if an account receives a warning or suspension?
If a seller account has received several alerts of intellectual property infringement then make a plea via the Seller Central account with the following information to stop the account suspension.
1. Invoices proving the authenticity of your products; or
2. Order IDs product authenticity; or
3. An authorization letter from the rights owner
What if a seller is unaware of violating someone’s intellectual property?
Amazon Sellers are expected to follow the law and Amazon’s policies while selling products on Amazon, no matter what. Even though Amazon takes claims of intellectual property infringement seriously yet violations are quite frequent. Even if a seller is violating someone’s intellectual property without information of the owner then Amazon will still take strict action against him. Also, the seller’s account will receive a warning or get suspended. In such circumstances, the seller should consult a lawyer to ensure that their business has the proper techniques to prevent IP infringement.
Notice for Parallel Imports
If the listed products are not illegal parallel imports, then a seller can contact the rights owner to handle the complaint directly. Only if the rights owner is unresponsive, by providing Amazon, with proof that the particular products seller selling on Amazon were imported into the EEA and traded in the suitable territory (EU/UK) with the rights owner’s permission.
Invoices exhibiting that the seller sourced from an authorized distributor of the rights owner may be one type of such evidence.
Amazon has two different choices for parallel imports: either to accept the trademark owner’s outcome to be able to import their product or not, or to do stuff if the trademark owner’s rights have been exhausted. It will need sellers to do some research on each brand and manufacturer to be aware of the rules about selling and importing a specific product. If the seller is unsure about Amazon, instruct the seller to seek a legal consultant. This is one of the safest ways to get caught and risk getting a severe cease-and-desist letter.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, a parallel import is an article that’s brought into another country where the product seller hasn’t got permission from the trademark owner. Hence it is important to review that a parallel import does not incorporate counterfeit goods. Once the seller or brand responsible for the parallel imports has been identified, then strive to conclude the issue as inexpensively as possible.
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