Amazon operates an internal patent enforcement procedure, called the “Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation Program”.Through this program, a patent owner may shut down infringing product listings from multiple vendors in a single action. While participation in this program is voluntary, Amazon will promptly remove the accused product listings for any vendor that refuses to participate.
If the vendor agrees to participate, Amazon refers the dispute to a neutral evaluator. This evaluator is an experienced patent litigator who will evaluate the infringement claim after analyzing the parties’ written arguments. The process takes 8-10 weeks from the time the neutral evaluator is assigned, and the cost is fixed compared to other patent litigation options. The participation fee is $4000, but the evaluator will refund that fee to the winner.
Amazon limits the dispute to one claim from one patent and one legal issue: infringement. The process allows only one defence: non-infringement and the process is streamlined to prevent delays tactics. There is also no appeal possible. All decisions are final. You are also guaranteed a ruling within two weeks, which can be either for or against the accused vendor. If it is against the vendor, amazon will be removed from the product from its website.
While the decision is not biding outside of Amazon, it has a direct impact on the company revenue. This approach is extremely attractive because it is swift, effective, and affordable. Moreover, if successful, it also can be a highly effective tool to test the water before engaging in the legal arena.May 26, 2020