Initiated by an MOU in April 2018, the IACC-Amazon Program is a unique voluntary collaboration supported by senior management and specialized teams within Amazon and the IACC. The Program focuses on streamlining, accountability and meaningful engagement – providing an expedited resolution path for enforcement issues as well as a real-time feedback mechanism to drive long-term solutions. It is a collaboration designed to continuously evolve and bolster IP enforcement on Amazon, not only to the benefit of Program participants but also the entire rights-holder community.
The primary features of the IACC Amazon Program are described below. They were developed through an initial six-month pilot and expanded upon in response to participant feedback throughout the first year of our full, standing Program.
The Program is open to all IACC member brands. To join or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to check back for updates!
Streamlined Issue Resolution Escalation and Resolution
Through a custom form on the IACC website, rights-holder participants have access to a streamlined path for escalating any issues they encounter when reporting an infringement to Amazon. The escalations are resolved and responded to within 24 hours. Amazon also uses the data collected from the escalations to identify priority issues and root causes. It then leverages this information across multiple internal teams to develop scalable solutions that prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. As a result, each escalation improves the enforcement experience not only of the participant, but of everyone that benefits from those input-driven enhancements (see below for examples of improvements driven by our collaboration).
Unique Reporting Opportunities
The escalation form also offers brands the ability to report on three infringement scenarios not currently covered by Amazon’s reporting tools (for example, against delisted sellers). These reporting paths are added based on feedback from our participants and intended to be an interim solution as Amazon explores incorporating similar options into their own reporting system.
Engagement and Information
The Program includes a number of opportunities for each participant to engage with Amazon and receive detailed reporting, including:
- Regular check in calls with Amazon and the IACC to discuss the participant’s experiences, answer questions, and work on high-level issues that do not fall within the scope of the escalation path;
- Increased transparency and reporting on participant’s notice submissions and escalations, issues identified, fixes implemented, and automated protections working on the brand’s behalf;
- Feedback and coaching to ensure effective infringement notice submissions to Amazon;
- Automatic receipt of seller details following an escalation (either immediately or after 20 days depending on the infringement type); and
- Timely Sales Volume Threshold Data to support participants’ investigative enforcement efforts (see below).
Enhanced Automated Protections
Participants have the opportunity to provide information, through both the escalation form and check-in calls, that helps Amazon customize its Automated Brand Protections (ABPs) so that it can better protect the brand’s IP. Additional breakdowns and explanations of the ABPs are provided during the check-in calls and on the regular reports as described above. Thanks to this feature, proactive removals on behalf of participants are up 200%!
Proactive Rejection Reviews
Amazon proactively reviews and provides feedback on up to 10 notice rejections per week for each active brand in the Program.
Sales Volume Threshold Data
Participants can easily receive Sales Volume Threshold Data for the sellers and ASINs against which they have filed a successful notice of infringement (currently limited to counterfeit and piracy notices), with no test-buy required.
The end result is a program that 1) provides timely resolution of participants’ notice reporting issues; 2) contributes to scalable solutions and improves submissions so that participants experience less reporting issues over time; 3) enhances automated protections so participants have less infringements to report overall; and 4) provides valuable information to guide participants’ enforcement efforts.
Examples of scalable solutions Amazon has implemented based on learnings through the Program (Not Exhaustive):
- Investigator coaching, training material updates, and introduction of IP assessment
- Updated investigator procedures for common law trademark notices
- New Brand Registry seller contact information request feature
- Changed Copyright section notice form to better reflect audio recordings (streaming, downloadable, and physical copies) and parallel DMCA requirements
- Updated Parallel Import Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to refine enforcement protocols
- Improved messaging sent to brands regarding patent reviews
- Updated investigator SOPs to improve communications during case workflow
- Improved RAV to include comprehensive list of images
- Resolved tool limitations through RAV to facilitate more precise enforcement actions
- Broadened enforcement protocols to include ASINs with variations leading to a more complete resolution of notices
- Improved process for refunds of customer purchases where the Brand confirmed a product as counterfeit
- Implementation of proactive removals based on notices for participants
- Additional guidance to brand participants on notice submission best practices