Author: Brandt Madsen, Founder and General Counsel
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 brand protection from rogue sellers on Amazon, attorneys and law firms can differ from one another in their definition of positive results.
Let us explain. Attorneys want the best result for their clients, 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 the bottom line) come first, even to the detriment of its 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 a summary judgment 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 judgments, risking additional action against them. In the meantime, those sellers can push additional sales through Amazon to clear out the 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 nearly two million active sellers on Amazon. 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.
Our solution does NOT rely on legal remedies. Instead, our solutions focus entirely on continuously changing marketplace program policies. By leveraging marketplace program policy rules against seller storefronts, unauthorized sellers are prompt to respond and quick to take our requested action.
Our Full Deployment solution resolves 50% of illegitimate seller problems as quickly as the first two weeks and up to 95% over time. Without litigation.
Does Amazon Allow Gray Falkon to Act on Behalf of Brands?
Yes. As a brand and a rights owner, you’re able to authorize agents to represent your brand using Amazon Brand Registry and its Report a Violation tool.
And Gray Falkon takes it from there reporting policy violations against your brand including product and listing requirement policies and shipping policies, as well as traditional legal intellectual policy violations such as copyright infringements, patent infringements, and trademark infringements.
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 of Gray Falkon 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 the impact to storefronts and losing the ability to sell products. Moreover, we are good at getting Amazon to act.
Is AI and Automation Technology Effective in Removing Unauthorized Sellers?
Yes! Gray Falkon uses sophisticated algorithms and data analysis to identify unauthorized sellers and take swift action to remove them from marketplaces, solving gray market problems faster and more effectively than anyone else.
Here are a few reasons AI and automation reign supreme:
Speed and Scale: AI and automation scans online marketplaces at lightning speed, identifying unauthorized sellers violating marketplace policies in real-time and taking immediate action. This means no more waiting for law firms to file cease-and-desist letters or take legal action.
Accuracy: AI and automation use advanced technology that is highly accurate in detecting unauthorized sellers. This ensures that all offenders are caught and removed from marketplaces.
Immediate Action: Unlike law firms, Gray Falkon’s AI and automation work 24/7 to identify, monitor, track, evict, and block unauthorized sellers on Amazon, Walmart.com, and other ecommerce marketplaces to protect your brand. Unauthorized sellers cannot go undetected, giving you peace of mind and protecting your sales.
Cost-effective: Hiring a law firm is expensive. Gray Falkon has an effective AI and automation solution that is right for your brand, offering protection against rogue sellers at a fraction of the cost.
In other words, you can have your cake and eat it too!
Full Deployment: Your Brand Success Strategist
When other technologies aren’t the right fit for your brand, Gray Falkon swoops in with the perfect solution: our Full Deployment solution. Full Deployment is a custom solution tailored to meet your brand’s unique needs, combining our proprietary AI and automation technology with a dedicated Brand Success Strategist.
Our Brand Success Strategists work closely with brands, developing and executing a personalized blueprint for your eCommerce success. Our strategists wield the power of Gray Falkon’s technology and a deep understanding of online marketplaces, ensuring your brand remains untouchable to unauthorized sellers.
Yes, the times have changed. Like many attorneys have already recognized, gone are the days of waiting months to see results. In today’s fast-paced eCommerce world, it is more important than ever to protect your brand’s identity. With unauthorized sellers constantly trying to undermine your brand, trust in Gray Falkon – the ultimate brand protection solution with its powerful AI and automation technology.