Lawyers love a win! So too, of course, do the law firms they work for. A win for the client is not only a boon for the attorney, but also a huge boost to the firm’s reputation. Positive results are key to the enduring success of attorneys and firms alike. Yet, when it comes to being asked to provide legitimate Amazon sellers with protection from rogue sellers on Amazon, attorneys and law firms can differ from one another in their definition of positive results.
Let me explain. Attorneys want the best result for their client, no doubt. It’s what they’ve signed up for, the fundamental purpose of their profession, and the singular goal of every case. However, tackling rogue sellers on Amazon — more importantly, finding success in doing so — can be tricky and often elusive. So when a solution that repeatedly works is found, the attorney naturally embraces that solution and deploys it to the advantage of the client. Yet if the law firm determines the new-found, successful solution is not grounded in traditional legal means (aka controllable by the firm), then the firm bristles and denounces said solution in defense of itself. The firm’s interests (and subsequently their bottom line) come first, even to the detriment of its own attorneys and their clients.
Traditional Legal Approach to the Gray Market
Consider the traditional legal process law firms embrace for confronting rogue Amazon sellers for brand owners. Not only is it time-consuming, but legal remedies for brand protection are cost-intensive, not cost-sensitive. Not familiar with the usual process? Keep reading for a breakdown.
The process starts with finding and determining seller identities. In some instances, law firms have previously identified bad actors (rogue sellers) based on other actions and have maintained a database of the same. In many more instances, if not most of the time, law firms must take time to develop a case for each rogue seller and subpoena Amazon for the information. This is a process that can take many months when done manually.
Once identified, law firms take the next step to prepare and send cease and desist letters to each of the sellers, with each letter costing between $500.00 to $1,500.00. No small change, right? But if a seller is not intimidated by the letter — most are not — the seller simply ignores it. The firm’s only recourse then is to convince the brand owner to continue down the costly path of litigation strategies or risk undermining the validity of the position set forth by the cease and desist letter.
What hurts the brand owner more than the additional expense of these litigation steps is the extra time the rogue seller gets to continue to make sales on Amazon while the litigation plays out. Once litigation starts, it will take months just to get a hearing. If a rogue third party seller decides to fight, there will be subpoenas, motions to procure or disqualify evidence, and most likely appeals driven by whichever party loses the first hearing. On the other hand, if a rogue seller decides not to fight, it will still be several months before the court issues summary judgement in favor of the brand owner. The action will be considered “won,” but enforcement is another thing altogether. Overseas (and domestic) sellers can ignore the court’s judgements, risking additional action against them. In the meantime, those sellers can push additional sales through Amazon to clear out remaining inventory.
Law Firm Interests Versus the Brand Owner Interests
Legal firms love to take on Amazon sellers. Why wouldn’t they? A firm’s primary purpose is to litigate, and great firms are effective at litigation. Indeed, with just a few rogue third party sellers, a brand will likely only find relief through focused, intensive legal action. But as we know, litigations require lots of hours – lots of billable hours. Taking on Amazon sellers is a great source of revenue for the firm.
The challenge for brand owners using legal remedies usually lies in the time and expense associated with the sheer number of third party sellers on Amazon. There are currently over two million ACTIVE sellers on Amazon, and every year more than one million new sellers join.
As you can see, the cost to execute an effective legal strategy at-scale is prohibitive. Firms know this and attempt to keep costs low and brand owners happy by employing a few different approaches. One example is widespread: firms will often focus on a few of the most egregious sellers, based on factors such as dishonest pricing practices and scale of negative impact. But this approach leaves most rogue sellers untouched and unscathed.
Brand owners must then decide to either:
Load up on a legal budget to go after every seller.
Litigate against only the most egregious sellers.
The former costs an arm and a leg, while the latter risks “death by 1,000 cuts” from the masses of sellers that fall short of the egregious seller cut off. Neither option is satisfactory, really.
Why Attorneys Love Our Solution
Attorneys know the drill. They understand the balance between performance and price at the customer level. Deliver an effective result at the lowest possible cost and the brand owner stays happy, which is why attorneys love what we do. They recognize a winner when they see it.
The Gray Falkon solution does NOT rely on legal remedies. Instead, our solution focuses entirely on marketplace policy. By leveraging the policy rules against Amazon seller storefronts, sellers are prompt to respond and quick to take our requested action. We are so confident in our solution that we tell brand owners we can remove up to 100% of unauthorized sellers from their branded products. Guaranteed.
If you don’t believe it, take it from one of the 10 largest consumer products companies in the world. Two of the three founding partners are attorneys. When we initially approached this gargantuan consumer goods company with an impressive legal remedy, they responded with, “We have the best attorneys in the world. We know these plays. But if you have something that can solve gray market, well then we’re interested.”
So with the goal in hand, we went to work to build a unique AI-backed system that leverages marketplace policies over legal remedies. And it works. The fact of the matter is, sellers are immediately afraid of impact to storefronts and losing the ability to sell products at all. Moreover, we are good at getting Amazon to act.
Gray Falkon solves gray market problems faster and more effectively than anyone else, and we scale like crazy. In other words, you can have your cake and eat it too! We adapt to your changing needs in a matter of days. Yes, the times have changed. Like many attorneys have already recognized, gone are the days of waiting months to see results. Let us show you how.
Download our ebook, “How to Find the Right Tool(s) to Protect Your Brand on Amazon”, to learn more about protecting your brand Amazon.
About the Author
Brandt Madsen, Chief Product Officer of Gray Falkon, is a world-class expert in trademark law and other intellectual property (IP) matters. Brandt’s experience includes representing and advocating for all types of IP interests, from those of multi-national corporations, such as Toyota, Nikon, and Rolls Royce, down to the individual entrepreneur. Protecting these rights fueled Brandt’s decision to co-found his own law firm and then sell it to pursue a larger vision of protecting brands in the evolving e-commerce world. Brandt earned his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University and his law degree at the prestigious Franklin Pierce School of Law at the University of New Hampshire, where he graduated cum laude.
If you are interested in learning more about him and the Gray Falkon team visit their About Us page here.