Broombi founder says tools to protect intellectual property are saving small businesses

Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit isn’t just for the big brands, it’s helping protect patents of small business owners across America

2 min
March 29, 2024
Amazon Broombi Photography

FORT LEE, N.J. – It’s the sign of success and at the same time could spell disaster for many small businesses. As notoriety for a product grows, so do the number of counterfeiters trying to steal a share of the business. For Brian Yoo and his patented bristle-less broom, Broombi, stopping bad actors would be a full-time job without the support of Amazon’s Brand Registry services.

“Patent infringement is actually the biggest challenge for us as a business,” said Yoo. It’s not advertising, figuring out the supply chain or even customer acquisition. When you have a good product, stopping counterfeiters is the number one challenge that comes before all else.

Counterfeiters don’t discriminate, affecting businesses from all sizes around the world. Amazon has tools to protect businesses from these types of bad actors, standing up Brand Registry services and the Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) to investigate and prosecute infringements. In addition, businesses like Yoo’s can apply to the Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX) program, which operates in tandem with Brand Registry and the CCU. APEX provides a cost-effective way for utility patent holders to have a neutral party evaluate whether accused listings are infringing the utility patent.

“Amazon is protecting us,” said Yoo. “Our patent is registered with the APEX team and we are therefore now able to challenge other products that are listed. The unauthorized goods that we submit are evaluated and if accepted, they will be delisted almost immediately, which is really good.”

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In 2022, Amazon invested more than $1.2 billion and employed over 15,000 people—including machine learning scientists, software developers, and expert investigators— dedicated to protecting customers, brands, selling partners, and their store from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse. As a result, the number of fraudulent attempts to create new seller accounts on Amazon went from 6 million in 2020 to 800,000 in 2022.

“We will continue to innovate until we drive the number of counterfeits in our store to zero…we are excited about our progress and what we can do together to hold bad actors accountable and ensure the entire industry is rid of counterfeits,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Worldwide Selling Partner Services, in an article for Amazon.

Yoo said Amazon’s tools to protect his IP are getting better and faster, but they’re not enough on their own. Entrepreneurs need to do their homework and advocate for themselves, he said. “It’s easy to sign up for an account or put up a product, but if you’re serious about this, you really need to do your groundwork before you put up a listing. In terms of patents, you really need to explore every avenue to protect yourself.”

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