Your Amazon problems would be solved with a regular USPTO trademark. They don't recognize common-law trademarks because they are heavily arguable in litigation.
USPTO is a database of trademarks already scrutinized by trademark attorneys and government. It's not perfect, but it is a collection that Amazon recognizes.
You can do this for $2000-ish and never think about it again.
then GS1.org for barcodes
Now you can sell your bottles in museum gift-shops!
Until about 5-6 years ago the changes Amazon made almost universally made their service better and more pro-user convenience/efficiency. Since then it's really become a nightmare. I realize they are being abused by scammers who are scheming every way to subvert the system but as a technologist familiar with web tech and distribution, it's clear there are some anti-consumer experience issues which Amazon could fix but is choosing not to.
For example, allowing vendors to list alternate "versions" which aren't really the same product at all. It makes it harder to tell what the star rating averages are for the version I actually want (and I have to sort reviews by version which is only accessible on a subpage. Frankly, I'd rather they just go back to one listing per product. Yes it's less useful for a hundred different sized machine screws but it seems like a major source of these issues.
Then there's the nightmare of letting different sellers sell on the "same" product listing. Crap clone products flit in and out contaminating the integrity of reviews because a shoddy version slips in but only from one seller out of six or seven.
As someone who deals with them everyday, do you think they are NOT doing some of the things they could to stop these issues due to strong incentives (Amazon makes more $$$ allowing users to be frustrated), or do you think they are sincerely doing what they can (within reasonable costs) to solve these chronic issues? They used to understand that accuracy and transparency ultimately yield more sales (even if lower for an individual product). I'd like to believe Amazon didn't change their ethos from the early days, but...
- 2 pack scammers that sell someone else's product as a bundle, but it costs more to buy the 2 pack than it does to buy the real item twice.
- Listing swaps, where someone will take a commodity listing with lots of reviews and change the listing to sell overpriced broken garbage
- Counterfeiting or extreme product cheapening after a listing receives recommended status
- A mountain of fake review schemes now including this.
These bad actors don't contribute to the Amazon market. There's little reason not to ban them for ToS violations.
These bad actors are optimizing for sales, and Amazon benefits from each sale on their marketplace. Their actions result in more money for the bad actors and for Amazon alike.
It's a similar situation to VC-funded social media platforms turning a blind eye to bots and automation early on because bot activity increases growth and engagement metrics, both of which in turn can increase the platform's valuation in future funding rounds or an IPO.
It'd be daft for them to not be curbing this!
My older relatives generally assume that Amazon will have the best prices online for everything despite that not being the case for 5+ years now.
They're counting on customers like my relatives and yourself not changing their assumptions or habits.
It's a little outrageous that a 3rd party can come take over your storefront without any avenue to challenge.
The problem is in Amazon's storefront, and there millions of sellers are operating in the same space, so doing some due diligence is required. If Cliff could just seize ownership of his storefront from a thief, why couldn't a thief seize it from Cliff? The solution is to register a proper trademark.
Like it or not, the world is messy, and it costs to keep it clean. Registering a trademark is like buying locks for your home and vehicle, and buying soap to wash your clothes, and changing the oils in your machines.
This leaves small hobby stores like Cliff's with no practical defense against scams like this if they've only made a few thousand in profits through amazon sales, especially if they don't have that cash on hand (and suddenly lose their amazon revenue stream!)
Like it's easy to say "well you should have trademarked your product" after the fact, but very few people have even heard of this scam when it happens to them.
There really are no polite words to describe business practices.
Stop buying from Amazon. Quite easy actually.
There a software company running a software market, all the power is in there hands, and they choose to do nothing.
The alternative is anarchy, and much more expensive then filing for a trademark if you want to sell in the marketplace. Like insurance, everyone that wants to be in the market pays a little, so that it makes it easier to avoid something like this.
Because Amazon's system is insane unless you realize it's designed only for the benefit of the corporation, not for any kind of fairness or quality.
Seems likely they are now the #1 seller of counterfeit goods globally, by a decent margin.
Why would Amazon merge the reviews of that product with the reviews of the authentic, high-quality, reputable Chinese vendor's actual product?
Why does Amazon allow a "color" to point to a product from a completely different seller? Why does Amazon allow product aliases at all?
A wealthy corporation (person) should pay more than the poor, or little enterprise.
I looked into a patent a few years ago, and couldn't justify even the fee at the time. When I had disposable income I was ready to patent, but I was too late. A corporation with over 60 patents beat me to it.
If someone is squatting one's trademark you can still sue them with an unregistered mark, and perhaps crucially if they're using Amazon then Amazon should be up for contributory infringement.
This is not legal advice and represents my personal views only.
In either case, or even in the case the was a seller legitimately infringing on a valid trademark, Amazon should not be reassigning reviews from one sellers product to another seller under these types of matters. How in the hell would that be beneficial to Amazon shoppers?
This post is my own view, not legal advice, and unrelated to my employment.
It also creates bigger questions about Amazon’s brand/trademark practices vis-a-vis forum selection where registration fees and criteria are minimal and rights are liberal.
Assuming it was successfully filed, actually returning the marketplace/reviews to OP would actually be more troubling…in other words Amazon would be willing to take the marketplace/reviews from a legitimate Trademark holder with an earlier filing date and give it to a legitimate Trademark holder with a later in time filing date from another jurisdiction.
Disclosure: I’m a lawyer and have actually represented a client that registered trademark A, sole the product on Amazon, then Amazon began selling a competing product with a similar (not identical spelling but pronounced the same) name they successfully trademarked B, ironically the USPTO rejected our clients trademark for C on the basis it was “to similar to B” whereas the USPTO never found B was similar to A. The difference between A and C being addition of a logo to the word mark.
Trademarks are published for opposition for this reason, right? Client could have filed an opposition against the confusingly similar mark during the opposition period and it never would have ended up in that situation with trademark C. Monitoring trademarks posted to the Official Gazette is an extra burden but important if your brand is valuable.
No the United States Patent and Trademark Office is not a database of trademarks.
It has one, though.