Exclusive distributor


#1

I am an exclusive US import & distributor and licencee of my selling brand from Korea. We also do wholesale distribution since we are the exclusive distributor in the US. However, since about a week ago there is a seller who’s selling our products claiming that they are purchased from a department store in Korea and saying that they are all genuine which are made in Korea. We are not aware of this seller since we have not distributed to this seller.

So I politely wrote to this seller that they are not authorized reseller therefore they should stop selling and using our brand name to sell the products unless they become authorized reseller here in the US.

Then we heard no reply from them. Today I put a complaint to Amazon about possible trademark infredgement because we have not supplied to them and that they are not authorized resellers and that it’s possible they are not genuine products. However, Amazon states that they cannot delist their products because of following reason.

+“Amazon respects a manufacturer’s right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements for its products. However, as the enforcement of these agreements is a matter of contract between the manufacturer and the distributors, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in enforcing these agreements.”+

I kind of suspected this to happen since I’ve seen this in their compaint page. But doesn’t the rights to use the trademark is only given when they are the authorized resellers which proves the authenticity of their products being sold?

I have exclusive agreement with my manufacturer/owner of the brand to protect their intellectual property in the US along with the exclusive distribution rights therefore it’s my job to protect it and also to protect my other resellers who’s selling or who’s planning to sell our products in Amazon.

They first put the products in MSRP set by us but they haven’t been able to sell much so they marked it down and some of them are close to our prices and some are actually lower than my other seller which does impect their sale. I just don’t understand how they can sell the product with such a low margin when they are bought in retail price from a department store.

I just submitted another complaint to Amazon and will see what’s going to happen. I have a strong feeling that they are going to say the same thing like last time. I have no idea what action to take after that happens.

Does anyone have some advice or had similar experience that would like to share?


Walmart to Amazon Shipping
#2

I don’t think there’s much you can do. First sale doctrine essentially says that if you buy it you can resell it.

It would be up to the manufacturer to request Amazon only allow authorized resellers.


#3

If your competition is disclosing that they bought the product in a department store and is now reselling it you have no argument to get them delisted. What prevents a person from reselling something they own?


#4

If the other seller is purchasing your products from a retailer, they have the right to resell it. It belongs to the seller and they can offer it for sale if they want to.

You might be able to argue that the product is not new since was purchased retail. You can’t get the product removed simple because they didn’t purchase from you. The best you can hope for it to have the item listed as “like new”.


#5

What if the seller is me? Are you trying to say that if I buy those items and want to sell them on Amazon from a “court appointed liquidator” that came from a store that filed for Chapter 7, I am not allowed to sell it on Amazon? Good luck with that. That is not big enough dollars for a lawyer to take the case. Who is going to pay your lawyers fees? Can you explain?


#6

Because this seller is using the product names and brand name which is only authorized to be used by authorized resellers. We can only suspect that they can possibly be counterfeits since they are not authorized resellers. If they mark them as “used” or “like new” condition, there is no way for me to stop it but they are selling the items as new and strongly phrasing that they are genuine in their product condition.

This is how they have it in product condition marked as “new” on every item that they have on this brand.

+“Manito Castle Alpha Stroller Weather Shield / Rain Cover (Purple). Purchased from Shinsegae Department store, Korea’s most exclusive and famous department store. All our Manito products are made in Korea and are absolutely 100% genuine. This is shown by the Manito label being present and watermarks on our baby pram covers. Cheap Chinese imitation products do not have this label or watermarks. All our products come sealed in original Manito packaging. All our products are checked by Amazon.com before being shipped to you. Delivery is 1-3 days after order. Free delivery is available… If you want to return the product please return it free of charge in it’s original packaging with one month of ordering it… We have been selling a variety of products through Amazon.com for the last 5 years. Thanks!”+

And why would they not reply to my first email when I asked them if they are interested to become authorized reseller.

Edited by: ManitoShopUS on Dec 6, 2013 4:39 PM


#7

I would say only it purchased from authorized reseller in the US. But this seller got it from a retailer overseas which I have no control of and I don’t even know if that’s true.


#8

My lawyer says I have the rights and I can stop them. Because basically I have the exclusive license agreement with the manufacturer to enforce any unauthorized uses their intellectual property which in this case the seller in question is not authorized reseller therefore does not have the rights to use the the trademarked brand name and the product names. But it’s Amazon who’s not willing to take action. I guess I’ll have to see how long this seller will be selling these once they run our of stock.

Edited by: ManitoShopUS on Dec 6, 2013 4:57 PM


#9

I guess best way is to do that. Where do I submit that complaint? Listing Policy violation?


#10

You do have rights. So does the other seller.

Strongarm tactics by manufacturers trying to snuff out competition is rampant on this site and everywhere else. There are hundreds of posts by the “little guy” complaining about manufacturers like you that get them kicked off Amazon for LEGALLY selling their products.

They are not selling imitations AS your brand. They are selling YOUR brand. There is no trademark infringement immediately apparent. If you do a test purchase and determine theirs is fake you can present it to Amazon and get them kicked off. If you determine it is real there is nothing you can do to stop it short of contacting their “source” and trying to get them to stop selling.

You can also report them to Amazon for using the CONDITION field inappropriately. That will get them kicked off your listings.


#11

First sale doctrine is not absolute.

One option is legal action, I suggest you retain legal counsel.

Another is to differentiate the US product. A simple way is a warranty which is only honored for product purchased through authorized channels.

No unauthorized seller could sell your priduct on Amazon without violating Amazon’s materially different policy.

Edited by: Lake on Dec 6, 2013 4:50 PM


#12

Please do not misunderstand my intentions. This brand is fairly new in the US and we are trying to grow the business. We cannot afford sellers getting supplies from unauthorized channels just because they know these products are selling good. That’s why I first sent a friendly email saying that they should be authorized reseller by getting the supply in the US. We want to grow with the little guys, they are the ones who help me to grow the business.

The price point is different in Korea and the US so the markup is different. My other seller who gets the supply from one of my distribution channel has listed one of the item to make enough for his profit but this seller in question now has it listed under his price which now my other seller is now not selling as much as before because of this unauthorized seller. I am not just trying to protect myself, I’m protecting others who does business with me.


#13

I have written contracts.


#14

Manufacturer the owner of this brand. It’s like a partnership with them to distribute their products in the US. So I am basically exclusive but also official US dealer.

Edited by: ManitoShopUS on Dec 6, 2013 5:30 PM


#15

This issue is out of control. So, you walk into a factory and ask them to sell you this brand and then expect that you would be the only one doing it? Seriously, it’s becoming annoying. Amazon has become infested with listings of the same type of wire with a different stamp/brand/seller and it is the same bloody thing.

To the OP: to have exclusive rights, you must make a deal with the manufacturer that you would be the only one to whom this factory will sell and unless you are Apple, I don’t see how you can strike a deal like that. Factories and manufacturers will sell to lots of retailers like you so I don’t understand what is so exclusive?


#16

It’s not your brand, it’s a Korean brand. I can go to Korea right now and order it wholesale.


#17

The ones the person bought in Korea and brought into the U.S. to resell are known as grey market goods. A requirement for establishing gray market trademark infringement in United States is showing that the unauthorized gray market goods are materially different from the goods authorized for sale in the United States.

If the products are not different in the different countries, then I don’t see that you can do anything about it.

More info on grey market goods and trademark enforcement at International Trademark Association website - http://www.inta.org/INTABulletin/Pages/BestPracticesGrayMarket.aspx

Edited by: OutWest on Dec 6, 2013 5:21 PM


#18

And by the way, lawyers tend to tell their clients lots of things they want to hear for obvious reasons. But besides consulting a lawyer, think of it with some common sense. The way you purchased this brand can be purchased by someone else.


#19

From whom do you have written contracts?


#20

If one of the authorized retailers decided to go out of business and sells them for less than what they paid, and someone buys them, they have every right to sell them here. If the ones bought in Korea are the same as the ones sold here, the same thing applies. You can’t stop consumer from reselling.