Amazon Develops Patent Infringement Dispute Resolution System

Takeaway: Amazon is developing a new program to help patent owners report potentially infringing products on Amazon’s website and take them down.

Amazon is responsible for almost half of American retail e-commerce. The website has been developing a new program known as “Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation.” The program permits patent owners selling products on to enforce their patents against potential infringers who are also selling products on the site. The program’s objective is to increase efficiency in decision making with regard to potential infringers and make the process affordable for patent owners who cannot afford to file a traditional patent lawsuit.

Currently, the program is invitation only, and the entire process of reporting to decision making takes roughly four months. Patent owners must contact Amazon and identify the potential infringers, the claim from their US utility patent they believed to be infringed, and the potentially infringing product’s Amazon Standard Identification Number. The patent owner then requests an evaluation and pays Amazon $4,000. Amazon then contacts the potential infringer and notifies them of the opened case and also requests $4,000. If the seller of the accused product does not pay Amazon $4,000 to participate in the program, Amazon will remove the seller’s listing from their website. Patent claims are then evaluated by an attorney of Amazon’s choice who then makes a decision as to whether or not infringement occurred. If the accused product is infringing, Amazon will remove the product within 10 days from its website.

Amazon’s program is meant to be more efficient than the traditional litigation process. Additionally, the decision is final, no appeals are permitted, and neither party to the program may contact the evaluating attorney. The successful party to the program also receives their $4,000 payment back and the remaining $4,000 is used to pay the evaluating attorney. Amazon’s program is not meant to replace the judicial system. Either party can still file an official lawsuit in court to obtain relief.