Amazon Project Zero: What can sellers do about counterfeit goods?

What is Amazon Project Zero?

Project Zero is a program by Amazon to curb the sales of counterfeit goods. The goal of the program is to drive counterfeits to zero by giving trademark owners the ability to self-monitor and report infringing listings.

Need help with protecting trademarks and brands in selling products on Amazon? Call US patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin 949-223-9623 or email to explore working with us.

Is Project 0 About Trademarks or Patents?

Project 0 involves only registered trademarks. When it comes to counterfeits or goods that bear substantially similar brands, we are talking about trademark protection.

Counterfeit vs. Trademark Infringement: How is counterfeiting different from merely infringing a trademark?

A counterfeit product has a mark that is identical with or substantially indistinguishable from a genuine trademark. In other words, the counterfeit product aims to look like the real thing.

The use of a mark that causes a likelihood of confusion, but does not appear identical with or indistinguishable from a genuine trademark, would amount to mere trademark infringement. Counterfeiting constitutes the most extreme type of trademark infringement, rising to the level of a crime.

What are the requirements to enroll in Amazon Project Zero?

To enroll in Project Zero, a trademark owner must:

  1. have a registered trademark;
  2. be enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry;
  3. have submitted reports of potential infringements through Amazon’s Report a Violation tool with an acceptance rate of at least 90% for the last six months.

Pending trademark applications will not suffice to qualify you for this project. Also, notice the final condition requires both a high success rate and a recent time period. Registered trademark owners with recent successful violation reports should calendar this 6-month deadline to enroll in Project Zero.

How do sellers use Project Zero?

This is a self-service tool to be used only to remove counterfeit listings. Therefore, trademark owners need to be careful not to use the tool against product listings that do not rise to the level of counterfeiting.

Can self-service lead to abuse by trademark owners?

To maintain Project Zero privileges, brand owners must maintain at least 99% accuracy. Practically speaking, there is no room for error in attempting to remove a competitor’s listing based on alleged counterfeiting.

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