Amazon is dedicated to providing customers with the widest selection of goods on Earth and to creating an amazing customer experience. Amazon does not allow listings that violate the intellectual property rights of brands or other rights owners.
This page provides information about intellectual property (IP) rights and common IP concerns that might arise when selling on Amazon. This is not legal advice. You should consult a lawyer if you have a specific question about your IP rights or the IP rights of others.
A copyright protects original works of authorship, such as videos, movies, songs, books, musicals, video games, paintings, technology-based works (such as computer programs), etc. Generally, copyright law is meant to encourage the creation of original works of authorship for the benefit of the public. To receive copyright protection, a work of authorship must be created by an author, and must have some amount of creativity. If you are the author of an original work, then you typically own the copyright in that work.
Protection usually arises at the moment of creation of a work, without a need for a registration, certification or other formal act.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, copyright is an inherent right which is protected without registration, for qualifying works. There is no copyright register in the Kingdom. However, the protection and enforcement of copyright (and other intellectual property rights) in Saudi Arabia is the responsibility of the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (http://www.saip.gov.sa/en).
In Saudi Arabia, copyright laws prohibit the unauthorized copying and use of original works, as well as the unauthorized importation, distribution and offering for sale of products.
A person who authors an original work usually owns the copyright for that work. If you take a photo of your product, you generally have copyright protection in the photo you took, and you can use that photo on your product detail page to sell that product. However, if you find a photo on someone else’s website, you should not upload that photo to a product detail page without the other person’s permission.
Example: The owner of the Pinzon brand took the photos of the sheets shown below and owns the copyright in the images of the sheets. If a seller were to copy these images to sell their product on another product detail page, that seller could be violating the rights owner’s copyright in the images of the sheets.
Refer to the WIPO websites for more information about copyright basics and FAQs.
It is important to make sure that the goods you are selling do not violate a copyright or you could lose your selling privileges and face potential legal consequences.
You might be able to sell someone else’s copyrighted work on Amazon if you have received permission from the copyright owner or where you are reselling genuine, lawfully purchased physical items (such as a book or CD).
In the Saudi Arabia, the dual nature of an industrial design as being both a functional and aesthetic creations means that they are also protected by copyright. So be aware that any product design may also be protected by copyright, and therefore may not be copied freely.
Trademarks may also benefit from copyright protection, particularly if the trademark is a logo, design or a three dimensional shape.
Copyright, Trademark and Design Right protection can coexist.
A trademark is a word, symbol or design, or a combination of same (such as a brand name or logo) that a company uses to identify its goods or services and to distinguish them from other companies’ goods and services. Put another way, a trademark indicates the source of goods or services. Generally, trademark laws exist to prevent customer confusion about the source of goods or services.
A trademark owner usually protects a trademark by registering it with a country-specific trademark office (being the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property in Saudi Arabia). Trademark protection is territorial by nature, i.e., the geographic scope of protection for trademarks is limited and depends on the place of registration: for example, a national trademark registration in the UAE does not give trademark protection in Saudi Arabia.
In some cases, in Saudi Arabia, a person or company might have trademark rights based only on the use of a mark in commerce, even though the mark was never registered. Those rights are known as unregistered trademarks and come into existence only under very limited conditions.
Generally, trademark law protects sellers of goods and services from the misappropriation of their trademarks by unlicensed third parties, in particular where there is potential to cause customer confusion about who manufactures, endorses or is affiliated with a particular goods or services.
A trademark owner may stop others from using a particular mark (a) for goods or services which are identical to those for which the owner has registered his mark; (b) for goods or services that are similar to that of the registered mark if it is likely that customers may be confused (even if the mark used is not identical but only similar); or (c) if the Rights Owner’s mark has developed a reputation in the country in question and where use of the Rights Owners mark or similar mark may cause unfair competition or detriment to the Rights Owners brand.
Trademarks are often displayed on Amazon’s product detail pages in the form of product and brand names listed on a product detail page. For example, the trademark “Pinzon” appears in the brand name or “byline” portion of the product detail page shown below. The “Pinzon” trademark also appears in the product name portion of the product detail page (“Pinzon Flannel Sheet Set – King, Sage”).
The World Intellectual Property Organization offers resources to learn more about trademarks.
Just because you are not the owner of a trademark, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot sell the rights owner’s product. If the product in question is genuine you are permitted to sell that specific product.
However, note that the rights owner can prohibit the use of the mark if there exist legitimate reasons to oppose further commercialization of the goods, especially where the condition of the goods is changed or impaired after they have been put on the market.
Almost all other unauthorized uses of a trademark constitute an infringement; if you are unsure whether your use violates someone else’s trademark, you should consult a lawyer before listing on Amazon.
Typically, a seller
can use someone else’s trademark in the following circumstances:
You may be able to make a truthful statement that a product is compatible with a trademarked product. For example, if a seller offers a specialty cable that is compatible with the Kindle E-reader, and states that the cable is “compatible with Kindle”, this is generally not trademark infringement as long as the statement is true, and not confusing. Please note, however, that “similar to” claims (such as stating that goods are “similar to Kindle” or “better than Kindle”) are potentially trademark infringements. You should obtain legal advice before proceeding with such statements.
It is important to make sure that the goods you are selling, and the
content of your listings, do not violate a trademark or you could lose your
selling privileges and face potential legal consequences. When you decide to sell
goods on Amazon, ask yourself the following questions:
Counterfeiting is a specific type of trademark infringement. A counterfeit is an unlawful reproduction of a registered trademark—or a mark that is very similar to a registered trademark— on a product or packaging. Amazon does not permit the sale of counterfeit products.
A lookalike item sold on a separate product detail page without the improper use of a registered trademark is not a counterfeit, even though the item might look similar or identical to the trademarked product. However, lookalike products may infringe upon trade mark or other intellectual property rights, such as copyright or design rights, or constitute (in some countries) unfair competition/passing off.
A patent is a form of legal protection for inventions. An issued patent grants its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, selling or importing the invention into the country which granted patent protection for a fixed number of years.
Not in Saudi Arabia. Other countries distinguish different patent types, though. For example, in the United States there are two principal types of patents: Utility patents and Design patents.
A patent is different from a trademark in that it protects an invention (such as a new machine) rather than a word or logo used to identify the source of the product (such as the brand name of the product). A patent is different from a copyright in that it does not protect the expressive content of a creative work like a book or a picture, but protects a specific invention, such as a new method of printing books or a new type of camera.
The World Intellectual Property Organization offers resources to learn more about patents.
The manufacturer or authorized distributor of a product might be able to assist you with patent-related issues. If you are unsure whether your content or product violates someone else’s patent, you should consult a lawyer before listing on Amazon.
A parallel import is a genuine product imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner. Intellectual property rights owners (in particular trademark owners, copyright holders and their licensees) may try to prohibit you from importing or selling their goods in Saudi Arabia, if you sourced them from outside Saudi Arabia.
If you intend to list branded products or media items, for example on Amazon’s Saudi Arabia marketplace which you source from another country, make sure that the products in question are genuine.
Parallel import of goods sourced outside Saudi Arabia for sale in Saudi Arabia with the rights owner's consent could still affect customer experience if the non-UAE product differs from the local version in any way (for example, packaging, warranty coverage, product variations) and in particular you may find that the warranty that comes with the product may not be upheld by the original manufacturer. Consequently, it is essential to describe your product appropriately to avoid negative customer feedback.
It is possible for rights holders to appoint commercial agents in Saudi Arabia to act as their official importer and distributor for an entire brand or for certain products within a brand, in respect of all or a part of Saudi Arabia. That agent has to register the commercial agency for the products covered.
An effect of registering the agency agreement is that the agent is granted the exclusive right to import and sell the products for the first time in Saudi Arabia. Consequently, if a third party tries to import, distribute or sell a product which has not been sourced from the commercial agent in the territory that the commercial agency covers and for which there is a registration, the commercial agent may be able to stop those sales or further sales from being made, or even make a claim for the profits made from those sales (even where the product was sourced from an authorized supplier in another country).
If you intend to list branded products on Amazon's Saudi Arabia marketplace, and you or believe that the branded products are subject to a registered commercial agency agreement, then please seek legal advice to ensure that you are able to sell your products.
A utility certificate is another form of legal protection for inventions, but for so-called “minor inventions.” The registration system is similar to the patent system and similar to a patent, a registration number is provided for any invention that is covered by the utility certificate.
In its basic definition, a utility model is very similar to a patent, except that the requirements for acquiring a utility model are less stringent than for patents (quicker registration without the examination of novelty, inventive steps and industrial applicability). The term of protection is also shorter than for a patent.
The manufacturer or authorized distributor of a product might be able to assist you with utility model-related issues. If you are unsure whether your content or product violates someone else’s utility model, you should consult a lawyer before listing on Amazon.
Refer to the World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/utility_models/utility_models.htm for more information about utility models.
A design is a form of legal protection for the appearance of the entire product or a part of it which results, in particular, from the characteristics of line, contours, colors, form, surface structure and/or materials of the product and/or its decoration. Any industrial or handicraft item including packaging, graphic symbols and typefaces qualify as a product. Parts of products that can be taken apart and reassembled can also be protected.
Designs are territorial: A design owner usually protects a design by registering it with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property in Saudi Arabia.
The manufacturer or authorized distributor of a product might be able to assist you with design related issues. If you are unsure whether your content or product violates someone else’s design, you should consult a lawyer before listing on Amazon. The World Intellectual Property Organization offers resources to learn more about designs.
If you receive a warning for infringement, you
will have several options to appeal or dispute the claim:
If you have received multiple warnings of intellectual property infringement and you believe you are selling authentic products, appeal via your Seller Central account with the following information:
A list of the allegedly infringing ASINs and
at least one of the following:
If your account has been suspended as a result of rights owners submitting notices of intellectual property infringement against your products or content, you can provide us with a viable Plan of Action that includes the following information:
You should send your Plan of Action via your account dashboard or reply to the account suspension notification that you received. We will evaluate your Plan of Action and determine if your account may be reinstated. Note that Amazon terminates the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances.
Sellers are expected to follow the law and Amazon’s policies. Amazon takes claims of intellectual property infringement seriously. Even if a seller is infringing on someone’s intellectual property without knowledge, we will still take action and the seller’s account may receive a warning or be suspended. You should consult a lawyer for help to ensure that your business has the right procedures in place to prevent IP infringement.