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Amazon Project Zero - together against trademark infringements

12/07/2020 • Reading time: ca. 5 min • by Trutz Fries

Amazon supports brand owners in detecting brand infringements with its Amazon Project Zero in-house tool. Project Zero is a declaration of war to reduce the enormous amount of counterfeit products on Amazon. The tool is intended to be a joint offensive against plagiarism, in which Amazon and sellers contribute equally to success. The name says it all because Amazon's goal is to reduce the number of plagiarisms to zero.

How does Amazon Project Zero help me detect plagiarism?

Hardly any brand can absolve itself from being a victim of product counterfeiting in the past. Non-brand manufacturers get hold of the Amazon product listing and win the buy box with dumping prices. Negative Amazon Reviews and customer overflows to competitors included. With Project Zero, Amazon is building on three essential types of procedures to combat brand infringement:

  • As a brand owner, you can actively remove counterfeit products from the marketplace,
  • Have your branded products identified by a unique code or
  • The trademark monitoring is entirely in the hands of the Amazon Algorithm (opens new window).

Active and independent removal of counterfeit products

Until the introduction of Amazon Project Zero, it was only possible to report counterfeit products in a cumbersome manner: Sift through counterfeit products, report them to Amazon and hope that the product will be removed after testing. With Project Zero, registered companies can now remove trademark infringements independently. The e-commerce giant allows you to react more quickly to counterfeit products and, at the same time, makes a significant contribution to improved sales performance. On the other hand, this feature invites you to remove offers - even those of your immediate competitors arbitrarily. Amazon puts a stop to this, as misuse is not welcome. In addition, the e-commerce giant constantly monitors manual deletion to prevent further abuse. Therefore you need to undergo special training to use Project Zero to its fullest extent.

Automated protection through proactive scanning technology

Using automated protection systems, Amazon permanently scans stores for suspicious offers. This includes both existing Amazon product listings (opens new window) and daily product listing updates. This is intended to detect brand infringements early and remove counterfeit products before they are published. The screening and evaluation of the products are carried out using scanning and machine learning technologies. In addition, the manually removed offers of brand owners and provided data such as logos or trademarks are used for analysis.

Unique authentication through product serialization

During the manufacturing process, you can provide your registered products with a unique code. This serialization enables Amazon to recognize the authenticity of each product. Before shipping, the ordered item is identified by the code and will not be shipped to the customer in case of a registered trademark infringement. The procedure is already known from the pharmaceutical industry and is supposed to protect against product piracy. During product serialization, you are free to decide which items you want to code. Amazon charges volume-based costs per unit for this service. However, product serialization is not a prerequisite for participating in Amazon Project Zero.

Requirements for participating in Amazon Project Zero

While only invited brands could participate in Amazon Project Zero during the test phase, the approved circle of sellers has now been expanded. Nevertheless, there are several requirements that you must meet to register successfully:

  1. Your state-registered trademark must also be registered with Amazon trademark registration (opens new window).
  2. You must be the trademark owner; Trademark representatives are not allowed.
  3. You need an Amazon account with access to the trademark registration.
  4. Your acceptance rate for reports of potential trademark infringements should be at least 90% for the last six months

If you meet the above criteria, you can register for Amazon Project Zero (opens new window).

amazon project zero register
Figure 1: Registration for Amazon Project Zero

Is it worth registering for Amazon Project Zero?

Amazon Project Zero has been available in Germany since the end of 2019. Whether it is worthwhile for you to participate can be deduced from the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of Amazon Project Zero:

  • Immediate, manual deletion of plagiarism
  • Protection of brands and consumers
  • Free use (without product serialization)
  • Trademark registration cross-national
  • The Algorithm (opens new window) also captures offers that you have overlooked
  • Product listings are scanned before publication and deleted before customers see them
  • No more negative reviews due to plagiarism on the own ASIN

Disadvantages of Amazon Project Zero

  • High admission criteria
  • Amazon transfers the responsibility partly to brand owners
  • Training required for successful activation
  • Costs for product serialization
  • Abuse by independent deletion not completely excluded

Conclusion on Amazon Project Zero

The basic idea behind Amazon Project Zero is honorable but not generous. Indeed, the online marketplace benefits from keeping big brands and manufacturers happy. It also reveals some weaknesses that could thwart fair competition. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the trademark and property rights on Amazon so that you know your options in the event of a trademark infringement. Until Project Zero is fully tested, you should continue to keep an eye on your listings. AMALYTIX can help you do this. One of the ways we can help you is to be notified when a Chinese seller (opens new window) on Amazon is added to your product listing.

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