In this episode we are going to discuss is product patents, its importance and on how to do a patent search or check whether your product is patented or not.
IMPORTANCE OF A PATENT
Before you decide to start selling your product on Amazon, you have to make sure that there are no existing patents for it. Selling a product that is already patented can have your product being delisted and unable to be sold on Amazon.
Including a patent search as part of your process in finding a product, reduces the risk of being delisted.
I once experienced receiving an email from Amazon regarding a patent infringement. I had been selling this product for over 7 years and didn’t even know a patent existed…. It’s not a pleasant experience and I would highly recommend doing all the necessary steps to avoid it.
A way to avoid cases such as patent infringement and being delisted is to make sure that you spend time doing patent searches before selling your product on Amazon.
To start your patent search, visit uspto.gov.
Scroll down the website until your find search patent button where you can enter your keywords to search on
When adding your keywords try to use all possible search terms that can match against with your product.
Some patent search terms do not directly describe the product so you need to take your time to be really thorough
Once you find a relevant patent search, make sure you click on the image button to confirm if the product with the patent matches your product
OUTLINE OF THE EPISODE
[00:20] – Importance of Patent
[05:40] – Important Factors for Patent Search
CoachAMZ is an Amazon FBA expert that offers various services including Amazon product listing optimization to increase entrepreneurs’ Amazon sales. If you want some help in getting started, then I would love to help out. Please reach out to me so that I can organize an Amazon Selling Strategy Session
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****** Full Podcast Transcription below *******
Here we talk all things including Amazon Product Listing Optimization, speak with Amazon FBA Expert from around the world to help you grow and build your Amazon business providing best Amazon Seller Consulting Services.
Hey welcome back. And this day we’re going to talk about patent search and how important it is to make sure that all your products aren’t infringing on any patents. The reason this is so important is that your products can be delisted and allowed be sold on Amazon overnight.
If you have a product that has a patent against it, and this actually happened to me to story about it because I actually had a process in place where all my products would do a patent search for. But, one of them slipped through and overnight I had a product delisted, it’s not a huge seller it does between 100-150 sales a week but does show you what’s possible that’s want to share my experience and how to avoid that.
So, my story is I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2013 availing the Amazon Seller Consulting Services and have a range of different products and when I first got started I didn’t actually have a step involved for all my patents, because this product was actually from another business it goes back about 10 years that I moved on to Amazon. So, what I actually have now is that to my product selection, that all the products I bring on board we do a patent search we do a thorough search. We don’t want to be in trouble and selling products that we shouldn’t be selling. But in this case is a product that goes back about 10 years.
So, when we brought it on we thought there’s no issues and can easily get to the Amazon Product Listing Optimization that will help us in future, because we have been selling it for a long time, been a great seller and no one had raised any issues about it. But, what happened is I woke up checked the email after had my breakfast and I got an e-mail from Amazon and from memory I think they just said it as Patent infringement.
And soon as I saw that I went. That’s really odd there is a process in place. All my products have been sold for years and years. I open it up and it’s a very simple email it just says you’ve infringed upon a patent that’s existing. Amazon takes it seriously to have it re-listed. You need confirmation from the blow email and what it has is an email address which is from the company that submitted the patent infringement and doesn’t give you any more information.
Since, I heard this I went straight on to the Patent search site. Which I tell you later in the podcast. And I went through my searches and had my team look and we couldn’t find it so I thought maybe someone’s try and play with me because it’s the product that’s been there a long time. Wouldn’t have had issues with a lot of other people marketplaces or something similar. How has it gone on? So, I looked at the email address did a Google searching and actually found it was from a patent and trademark attorney company in Taiwan.
So, once I found that I gave them a call spoke to a relevant person and had to go back and forth a few times to understand it and they were representing a US company. The product was actually being made in Taiwan and the US company had approached them to organize the Patent infringement notices. So, speak to them. They actually gave me the patent name and the number and when I went in search for it, it was correct that it actually had been a patent against it.
So, I thought wow this is really surprising. I spoke to him about it. There are apparently another 15 listings on Amazon that all infringe the Patent. Mine was the biggest seller of the lot but they took down all the other listings. So, we spoke a bit more and were these things always think there’s an opportunity come out of it when something is wrong.
There’s always a learning lesson or some way you can improve it. So, in this case I spoke to them about the issue and I said OK. If we’d been patent I apologize, I didn’t intend to do that. I understand that this is not something that I practice in. We actually have a process in place to stop this happening. Can I buy from you guys?
We went back and forth and the guy said certainly that’s fine the price will be a bit higher and the quantity Minimum order will be much higher but it means that I can keep selling a similar product on Amazon with the Amazon Seller Consulting Services and get back in the game. The downside of this is that I just ordered another 50-100 units of this product and the products is about 100 to 150 units a week so it’s not a huge product but it’s just a nice little product to have in your portfolio. So now I’ve got about 1800 units of this product that I can’t sell in the US.
So that’s another issue I’ll have to deal out but I’m telling you this because it is very serious because when you have a product delisted all the time and energy effort they put in there to build up those ratings that emails the photos listing all the work you do as now being taken off. Plus, if you get delisted and like me you have something like 1800 units in stock of it. Then you have another issue of having all your capital tied up and no way to really liquidate it. So, what do you do about this going forward. How do you avoid this?
So, in our business we have a process in place as every Amazon FBA Expert let us know where every new product we come on we have a process where we go through and make sure it is not patented. And the reason we do this to you is explain you get a patent on products someone finds it you, you will get wiped out overnight.
They won’t shut down your account but they’ll shut down your listing making it difficult to Amazon Product Listing Optimization. So, I would recommend to experienced and new sellers on Amazon and consider Amazon Seller Consulting Services I that, as part of your product search when you go through and find that awesome product you’re really excited about, make sure you spend the time to go through and do a search on the US patent site also recommended by Amazon FBA Expert.
So, the U.S. Patent site is uspto.gov that’s U S P T O dot gov. What you would do is you scroll down and there is a search a patent button and you go through there and you start putting the key words that you think would match the description of your product and this exercise can take a little while. But, it is an effective way to rebuild your Amazon Product Listing Optimization.
It’s not something that can take in just 5 minutes because there are so many different variations that people can use. In our situation the reason we couldn’t actually find the patent and when we became identified of it is because the word they used describe was nothing like the actual product. If we use the example of spatula’s as a hypothetical they didn’t use the word plastic spatula, they didn’t use a metal spatula or spatula they would have used words such as cooking utensil or large metal spoon that isn’t actually describe what a spatula is and that’s just example to say we can find it.
As you will see in our Amazon Listing Optimization Service it is really important that you spend some time going on the patent site and using all the different words you can think of to search for that product that is proved to be beneficial for Amazon Product Listing Optimization. So, the most obvious ones are the keywords in Amazon so if you go on the search box and type in the keywords for your product.
You probably get six rate variations but I recommend the think of every other variation you can think of and go to the US patent site and search for them and what happens is that you get a result and actually has an image of the product. So, it’s really quick to find out so you’ll come up with a result. Click on the hyperlink and then it shows an image of what the patent is. So straight away to look at the image and say Yep that’s a product or not a product.
From my experience all my products we have to search on don’t have a patent on it and from the people I work with they haven’t had that issue but it does happen so even though it’s a very small probability of happening. The impact is very high so it’s really important that you take the steps to do the patent search to avoid these situations. From my experience this will probably be a mix up of a probably six or seven eight thousand US and that’s part of business.
I always tell people that when you’re on Amazon it’s not always a smooth ride. You sometimes see those graphs when your sales are up huge one day then down the next and as long as the trend overall goes up. That’s a key thing because according to Amazon FBA Expert things like this happen you will run out of stock. You will have issues with inventory. You have problems with competitors trying to hijack you and that’s a whole another topic.
But, here what Amazon Seller Consulting Services comes into play as overall you look at the long picture whether you’re trending upwards. And the key to do that is always just stay on top of your business approach operationalize it so you have a process in place for all the key steps you need to run your business and then look at the trend own so weekly or a monthly to make all your training upwards.
So even finding with Amazon and Amazon Listing Optimization Service in weekly, yeah, your sales can go up or down by 20-25 percent depending on the week. And then if you sell seasonal products it can be up and down as much as 80-90 percent. If you’re selling a summer product that’s an outdoor maybe camping product come the middle of winter you won’t be selling many units of it as a strategy or talk about that as well what sort of products you want to specialize in.
So, I normally specialize in products that aren’t seasonal that are consistent all year round but that’s just my strategy and there’s whole different approach and different strategies that people use.
So, I’m going to be off topic here and there’s so much I love to share about Amazon and Amazon Seller Consulting Services as I’m talking about it. But, today sessions really about patent and patent search. So, on a recap it’s a critical step as part of your product selection is that you do a patent search that you do go to U S P O dot gov and use a search function and do spend that time he’s been up to an hour looking at all the different variations you can think of to search for it.
When we find a result look at the image and see if it’s the same if it is the same or very similar if it is I’d stay away from it. You want to avoid any of those issues.
So, guys, hope this session have been of value. I’d love to get your feedback. I wish you the best success in Amazon.
And if I can ever help you out let me know.