Using Patents to Protect Your Products (E115)

  • Rich Goldstein
  • Patent Attorney


Rich Goldstein is a patent attorney that helps Amazon sellers to protect their products and brands. He has obtained more than 2000 patents for his clients and is the author of the American Bar Association’s “Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent”. Rich is passionate about helping Amazon sellers to become ‘patent savvy’ so that they make good business decisions and protect themselves while avoiding problems with other sellers.




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the business of eCommerce. I talked with rich Goldstein about using patents to protect your products. This is the business of eCommerce. Episode one 15

Charles (00:15):

Welcome to the business of eCommerce, the show that helps eCommerce retailers start launch and grow their eCommerce business. I mean it was child’s plus ski and I’m here today with rich Goldstein. Rich is a patent attorney that has helped Amazon sellers protect their products and brands. He has obtained with the 2000 patents for his clients and he’s authored a book for the American bar association called consumer’s guide to obtaining a pattern. I just listen to the show tonight to chat about how you can use patterns, connect your products and Amazon listings. So, Hey rich, how are you doing today? Doing well. I’ll ask him to have your show. Thanks for coming on. I love the, this is one of the topics we don’t talk about often enough and I feel with especially a lot of Amazon sellers, they don’t really get enough exposure to kind of how to protect themselves legally.

Charles (01:02):

With this, right. So you do a lot of work with, is it mainly Amazon folks or is it all kinds of just private label in general? What do you kind of focus typically? Well, I’ve been working with entrepreneurs for 25 years and the last few years it’s been very much e-commerce, Amazon entrepreneurs. And and yeah, I, I agree with you totally. I think patents is a topic that Amazon sellers at e-commerce people don’t focus on enough. And I think it’s the thing that could have the biggest impact on their business that they probably know the least about. So it is something that

Richard (01:37):

It’s very important to talk about. I think it’s very important for Amazon sellers to learn about and just to get a reasonable level of competence with how patents work and,

Charles (01:47):

And how to better utilize it in their, in their business. Okay. Yeah, I see this a lot. And also this is my, I have a childlike understanding of how the legal system works, but the difference between patterns and trademarks, cause I know trademarks is also another big thing, especially on Amazon. How does, how does a trademark play into that? So do you need a, do you need a patent to get a trademark or are they not at all related?

Richard (02:13):

They are not at all related. There are different subject matter altogether. And so when you think patents think products like product ideas themselves, the way a product functions, the way product looks, that’s what a patent could be used to protect. Trademarks on the other hand offer branding. Okay. So you know, trademarks are for the, the name that you use to sell your product, the logo that you have. And in general they protect

Charles (02:46):

Different types of things so they serve different purposes. Okay. I see. So in which case, let’s say you’re selling an Amazon if you’re doing any sort of private, would that be the time when you want to look at pattern or is it, if you’re completely producing a new product from the ground up, like when would you cross the line of being, you know, wine, that kind of protection?

Richard (03:09):

Yeah, I mean in general, if you, if you’re white labeling all the products and you are simply finding products on Alibaba that are just like other products that exist, you’re just sourcing them to be cheaper, et cetera, et cetera. Then there’s nothing to patent because you haven’t invented anything. But a lot of times the evolution of, of most sellers businesses is they start out with white labeling products and then they get competition. And as they get competition and they seek to compete by maybe pay-per-click and other ways to kind of get their listing to the top, at a certain point, they, they just realize that to really grow, they need to differentiate themselves. They need to differentiate their product from the other listings. And then they also realize that if they’re going to differentiate it, they need to protect that differentiation so that the other sellers can’t just do that same thing as well. So usually that’s how it starts out. That’s how it evolves. But if you’re just white labeling existing products, there’s really nothing to patent.

Charles (04:14):

Okay. So it would be, so let’s say evolution, cause I’ve heard this one a lot where folks are white labeling. And like you said, it’s someone, a lot of people come in and basically just flooding the market with pretty much the exact same thing at that point. And then they start producing larger orders, they go back and forth with the factory and they say, Hey, this would be great if we made these modifications so it’s product and we did X, Y, Z different and we made this better. So at that point they’re basically now building their own product and that itself is it. Then you would want a pattern so that other people don’t come in and basically steal that exact same concept. Right,

Richard (04:49):

Exactly, exactly. So, so as they innovate the product, as they make a differentiation to it, as they add new features, those are things that they might want to patent. Okay.

Charles (05:01):

When you typically hear about this, so I feel like there’s always this like cost and like timeline that like a lot of people, it scares them off. Is that reasonable or is that just like you have to just assume it’s going to be X number of months. So like what kind of, what are you looking at to even get into this?

Richard (05:16):

Well, let’s just look at the cost part first. I, I think what, what you need to do is always consider the costs. It shouldn’t scare you away, but it should be something that has you decide whether a particular project is worth it, whether it’s worth protecting a certain product. And some of the things to consider in that is, is of course, what’s the upside? Like what, how big of a listing do you think this will be? How big of a product it could be? So what’s the upside for protecting it? Also, how different is it? Because if your, if there isn’t much difference between your product and what already exists and it’s rather inconsequential a difference, it’s a feature that doesn’t matter much to your competition. It doesn’t matter much to your customers such that if your competition and said, Hey, very cool product, we like to copy it, but we don’t need to copy that feature that you’ve patented because it doesn’t matter to the customers, then it’s not something worth patenting.

Richard (06:16):

But if you’ve come up with something that really does differentiate your product in a way that customers are going to just want it because of that feature and you’re able to patent that feature. In other words, it is itself new. You’ve done the investigation, you’ve determined that there are that the, the differentiating factor, that feature itself is something that’s different enough to be patentable. Then maybe you have something. So that’s what you really need to, to figure out because you can get a patent that covers as much of a concept is Oh as is new at the time that you go for that patent. So how would you know if it’s different enough? Like what, what is that bar? Is it just putting a new, like you know, a new battery door on the product or do you have to basically like rebuild the entire thing?

Richard (07:06):

Like where is that line even? Okay. Well, first of all, there’s different enough for the patent office different enough to get a patent and then there’s different enough for what I’m talking about, which is different enough to have it be worthwhile to get a patent. Okay. So as far as the patent office is concerned, different enough means not obvious. And it’s a kind of an unusual stand that it’s one that’s a little difficult to wrap your mind around at first. But basically what it means is that whatever is different about the product, whatever’s different about yours, compare to the things that exist previously, can’t be something that would be obvious to people in the field, even if the exact same thing didn’t exist before. If it’s something which is just incremental, so you know, yours is bigger, you know, or it’s made of a different material.

Richard (07:57):

But it’s well within the range of what people who design products like that know that they can pick from then it’s probably obvious and probably not patentable. So what it sounds like that kind of falls outside the range of what people are usually thinking then that’s probably not obvious and then it’s patentable. But then beyond that in terms of different enough is, you know, again it should be something that’s a meaningful difference. Something that means something to you. It means something to your customers. So if you’re able to patent it, you know, you could have some combination of features which is outside the box enough that it can be patented because it’s not obvious, but it’s still not anything that matters to your customers. So, okay, so you’ve made it this way. Would your competition feel compelled to make it that way or would they just do something different?

Richard (08:52):

Right. Okay. I see. Yeah. This is kind of Venn diagram. Hair of it is a patent office except this. And does the market actually, basically just the patent office believe it’s different enough and does a market believe it’s different enough. And those both have to apply. You have to be in that, you know, sir the center of the Venn diagram. As a matter of fact, I have a Venn diagram that looks exactly like that, that if I was presenting you know, doing a presentation here on a webinar, I might show that Venn diagram, which shows that the opportunity you’re looking for, the opportunity for something that you should be patenting is the overlap of the patentability and the marketability. So the thing that makes it marketable is that thing patentable. And then, then that’s something that you should consider patents. And if they don’t overlap, then you shouldn’t bother.

Richard (09:41):

And you just getting a patent in name only. Yeah. You’re getting something that’s nice to hang on your wall, but it doesn’t matter because it’s not stopping the competition. It’s not really helping your business in any way. Yeah. Let me take that back for one second and soften that a bit and say, not helping your business in any way. To some sellers that I, that I speak with, they feel that when you have on your listing that it’s patented the ad, it tends to go a long way. People, you know, they, they have actually tested putting the word patented on their listing and not putting it and seeing that, that people respond better than they convert better. When it says patented people, can, the customers consider it to be more exclusive. So it does have some value. And by the way, you can’t use that term if it’s not true.

Richard (10:29):

It would not only be a terms of service violation, but it’s also illegal to say something’s patented when it’s not. But often being able to say that something’s patented or say that it’s patent pending, which means that you’ve applied, but it hasn’t yet been decided whether you’re going to get the patent that that helps. So I can’t say no value to your business, but just circling back around to to what we’re talking about here is you want to, you definitely want to knowingly make the decision about whether to patent something based upon whether having the patent is going to help you compete better. Whether it’s going to help you to reduce competition or prevent people from doing the thing that really matters to your business. Okay, I see. Okay. All right. So next part of that question, I know this one’s a little high tan, so, but what are you looking at as far as cost and time?

Richard (11:25):

Like what does that even, you know, cause there is a certain, by that let’s, if you’re selling a low volume product, maybe, maybe it’s a great idea, but just financially it doesn’t make any sense. So like what are you looking at as far as time and cost investment? Got it. Okay. Well first, you know, let’s talk about the two different types of patents that they could be going for. Cause then I didn’t even know there are two different types. So I’m glad you said that. So, yeah, absolutely. Well and and that’s what I’m listening for too. And when I’m conversation with a, with a seller or someone who’s interested in patenting, I kind of listen for what they don’t realize and that’s kind of going to inform what we need to talk about. So, so yeah, let’s talk about the two different types of paths.

Richard (12:06):

So you have a [inaudible] utility patent and a design patent and utility patent is what you’re probably thinking of what most people think of when they think of a patent. When you think of someone inventing something in their garage, like they they’ve, they come up with a new way to make a certain product function better. That’s what utility patent is for. It’s for protecting the functional differences of or the structural differences of what makes something function better. So utility patent is most typically what, what people are thinking of when they think of patenting and invention. And so one thing to know about utility patents, which we could access later, is that utility patents are very involved, wordy documents that describe the product in detail and define the limits of what it would take to infringe the patent with words. So there’s a definition of the territory of what the patent is covering inwards.

Richard (13:10):

So determining whether something infringes the patent is a matter of comparing the allegedly infringing product to the terminology that describes a a table having a kind of four legs and a a surface and, and the draw a suspended from the top surface or whatever that definition is. You look to see if the allegedly infringing PR product meets that definition. Okay. And so utility patents are involved and utility patents are relatively expensive. Design patents on the other hand, are pretty simple and rather inexpensive. What design patents affor offer? Just the shape of the product. So it’s just for what’s called the ornamental appearance of the product. It’s just for the physical shape. And it’s a matter of presenting the design rather precisely using drawings. So we presented in a way that meets the patent office’s standards for how we need to present it.

Richard (14:09):

And I’m quite a bit less expensive just in terms of as a guideline. A utility patent typically cost North of $10,000 to apply for design patents may be a few thousand dollars to apply for. And so now design patents are judged by the drawings that judge by how the pro product looks. It isn’t really just a shape or is it the material, the color or is it literally just a physical geometric shape? It’s really just the shape. I mean when you, not the material, not the color, but sometimes the texture of it as well. So the extent to which you can show the texture in a, in a line drawing. So I mean, perhaps a product made of the same shape made of metal might have a different appearance than if it was made of some type of heavy canvas or a burlap mode, like material.

Richard (15:02):

So the texture might come into play or like or kind of some type of ornamentation on the surface or design. That’s on the surface of the product. But yeah, generally it’s four to three dimensionality of it. Okay. you know, and again, the significant thing about how it’s different from utility patents is that infringement for design patent is judged by the pictures, by the drawings. And the reason this really matters and the reason it matters to to people selling on platforms like Amazon is that the conventional logical reasons that utility patents are better cause utility patent protects the concept of functionality of it. And so if people are, are or within limits, if they’re copying that concept, they could be infringing the way design patents are only protecting the appearance of someone who makes it look different. It’s not going to infringe.

Richard (15:59):

So that was the conventional logic. But now if you’re selling on Amazon or other eCommerce platforms that are regulated, regulated, like eBay and things like that the design patents actually can be more valuable. And the reason is, I mean, two reasons. Number one, when someone’s copying your product, when someone’s copying your listing on Amazon and not getting imaginative about it, they’re not looking at your concept and saying, well let’s design our own. They just copying it. Exactly. And so if they’re copying it exactly, it will look like your design patent in a will and fringe. Well even here are people that actually just rip off people’s photos. Like they literally just take the photos verbatim and just upload them to this. Yeah, people are people copy in a lazy way and so if you have a design patent, then it will infringe. But the other aspect of it more significantly is the fact that if you make an IP complaint to Amazon when it comes to utility patents, you’re tasking them with comparing the words of your patent application with the product.

Richard (17:04):

They have to read it and understand that and then not go to read it. Then knock them down, stand that they don’t particularly want to shut people down over utility patents for that reason. Although they do of course, but the point is that if instead you do an IP complaint because you have a design patent and the other product looks like yours, they’re going to look at the pictures and say, Oh yeah, it looks the same and shut them down. So it’s like a, like a lower level of understanding that you’re requiring from them in order to shut down a competitive listing. So design patents have become very valuable and to an extent indispensable on Amazon so that if you have a product that looks distinctive, do a design patent. So it sounds like a utility, they would probably need to bring in like an attorney at Amazon, like someone to really parse through.

Richard (17:54):

I’m guessing this is like a several page document with designs and language. It could be 10, 15 pages and very complex and it’s a yeah and costly to review. They are procedures now at Amazon that all like a mediation type procedure where with the utility patents you can have an independent patent attorney review it and both sides pay $4,000. And then basically the winning side gets their money back and and so they have this procedure now for, for utility patents. And I see them shut down people with utility pads without using that procedure. And, and I don’t, I don’t really know what they’re doing internally. I mean, it’s pretty you know, they’re pretty opaque about it and inconsistent just to keep us on our toes. It’s like sometimes one thing works and other times it doesn’t. And sometimes we get our a reasonable response from them and all the times we don’t.

Richard (18:52):

So it’s kinda hard to know. But just I want to just answer the final part of your question, which was the timing of it. So on average it takes about a year to get a design patent, maybe about two to get a utility patent. Once you apply for it, then it’s patent pending. So that’s a good time to, to apply a one to two, like one to two to get to the application process. No to, once it’s filed, it takes one to two to get it approved and issued by the patent office. Okay. But how long to get to the filing part of it to actually get the patent ending typically a few months. Okay. And one thing though that very important to know probably if there’s one takeaway that that you need to have or that that other entrepreneurs should have about patents and timing is that you lose the right when you make it public before you apply for the patent.

Richard (19:56):

And in the United States is this a one year grace period where if you’ve made the product public and you haven’t yet applied for a patent within a year, you lose the right, you lose the right steward to apply. In most of the world though, you lose it immediately. That’s something too to know though. So you, if you, if you make the product public, you lose your rights in many countries in Europe and China, et cetera, immediately because there’s no grace period. So, so typically if you’re thinking you want to patent something, you know, you don’t always need the patent product as we talked about. You shouldn’t always patent your product, but if you go to do it and the time to make the decision of whether you’re ever going to do it is before you launch. Ooh, that’s tough. That is a, that is a tough little, what do people do around that? Cause I feel

Charles (20:48):

Like I feel like you wouldn’t know until you launch and then once you launch, like basically you’re into it, you’re almost too late at that point.

Richard (20:56):

Yeah. I, I guess what they do mostly is just trust their gut on it. And again, if you’re, if you’re willing to give up the, the rights in, in other places and you know, outside of the United States you can technically file within a year of making it public. So it is possible to, to, to put off the decision to some extent, although there are still certain things that can take place that can cause you to lose the rights. So the safe thing is to apply before you launch.

Charles (21:34):

Apply. So what you spend a couple months, you apply, you got it out there and then you can launch with a patent pending and then if it takes two years, who cares? It doesn’t matter. Like basically almost irrelevant to you at that point. It’s just, it can be patent pending for as long as

Richard (21:47):

You don’t need to have the patent in hand before you launch. You just need to apply. Okay. And then,

Charles (21:55):

Yeah, that can take the time.

Richard (21:56):

Exactly. And you see lots of products out there that are marked patent pending. Those are all people who’ve applied for a patent. They haven’t yet received the patent. They don’t know for sure they’re going to get it, but they realize that in order to get any traction with the [inaudible] product, you need to get it out there. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a balance between the two. It’s a matter of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s with regards to the patents and doing what you need to to get the product to be successful in the world.

Charles (22:21):

Okay. So you’re in, you’re investing the 10 or to grow 2000, approximately just to get a patent pending. So that’s the fee. That’s not, you’re not talking to the patent process. We’re talking to a patent pending just to get the application filed.

Richard (22:34):

Yes. And I’ll just give you there’s one more option too. If you’re going to go for a utility patent eventually, like if you’re looking to protect the functionality, you can do what’s called a provisional patent application. Now a provisional patent application is a somewhat less formal patent application. It’s less involved to prepare and file. And so there’s a cost savings in doing so you, if you file the provisional application that gives you one year to file your utility patent and keep priority from when that provisional application was filed. So you file the provisional, establishes your priority. Even if someone else files a utility patent application after you two months later, you would still be ahead of that as long as you do your utility within the one year life of that provisional application.

Charles (23:26):

And I’m assuming that’s a much, a much easier thing to file. And you can,

Richard (23:30):

It’s less expensive. There is an important caveat to it though, which is that it’s only as good as it is well written. So a lot of times people hear about provisional patent applications and they say that I could just file something and get patent pending status and so they’ll just write up their own description, maybe a few paragraphs, they’ll send it in, they’ll get a filing receipt and they’ll say, I’m patent pending. But it’s really a false sense of security because if they were ever in a situation where they needed to use that priority, like someone filed a patent application a couple months after them then that person would make it their business to show that your application was improperly done, was poorly put together. And I mean, there isn’t any application that an individual wrote on the room that I couldn’t poke a hundred holes in if I didn’t need to.

Richard (24:24):

Okay. So that’s still something you’d want to actually engage a professional? Yes, 100%, but it’s still, it, there’s less that we need to do for it. So it’s less expensive. I mean in, in my case, we typically charge half of what we charge for utility do the provisional, and we still do it to the standards of a utility application. We still have drawings made and and a description that’s comparable to what would be in a utility application. Okay. So if it was ever challenged, you’d be able to go back and say, you know, we actually made a legitimate attempt and it’s just not a single paragraph description. Yup, exactly. We will make sure we file something that’s real that they can rely on if they need to. Oh, okay. These are very good. So that’s in the provisional only works with the utility or is that, does that work for both of them?

Richard (25:11):

The provisional? Yes, exactly. It only gives you priority toward doing that utility later. You can’t use it to buy some time to do a design application. Okay. So it’s strictly a stepping stone towards a utility or a good question. If design patterns are only over looks right, like let’s say I have a product here from a Canon 60, my camera, if I just took a different way. But if I built the same camera that looks just like this and I put, you know, business of e-commerce says my label on that. Is that a different design just like changing a label or is that like probably not, probably not a different design. I mean the test for design, patent appearances, whether it has a substantially similar appearance. Do you an ordinary observer? So I love the legal, I love the way the legal turnips are.

Richard (25:57):

Love it. Yeah, I don’t love it. I’m married to an attorney by the way, so I know I’m with you on that though. I know it’s, it’s funny though, is what you’re saying. How you know, these kind of legal definitions get crafted. It’s so, wait, what was the legal definition? I’m sorry. Substantially similar appearance to an ordinary observer. Okay, so you think a logo would not would not be triggered. So if I just changed the logo, that’s still not exactly, that’s just changing an aspect of the surface changing, changing the, you know, the configuration of the shape of the housing. That could bell the difference. And what matters also in that is what existed before. So you know, you can compare to SLRs and say like, look, they’re infringing my design patent because it looks like my SLR. Well, yeah, because it has a generally rectangular body with a, with a cylinder cylindrical lens coming out of the front. It’s got a big button on the top. I mean it’s got all the familiar SLR features. That’s not going to get you design patent infringement. Like when that doing, when they’re comparing it, they’re also taking into account the things that are common to whatever existed before.

Charles (27:12):

Oh, okay. I see. So you can’t, you can’t kind of Pat and it’s, it’s the difference of your SLR, like what makes your SLR different from every other. Okay. Got it.

Richard (27:22):

It’s hard line to fi what that difference is, but but yes, that’s kind of, that’s what it’s grounded in. It’s you can’t you can’t say, Hey, you Pat your chair. It looks like the design patent for my chair because they both have four legs and a seat, because that’s commonality. If there’s something more and that’s what the comparison would be sake of Zion in French.

Charles (27:46):

Okay. So if someone’s sitting here, they’re listening to watching to this, they have a couple of products on Amazon or wherever at this point. And they’re wondering like, maybe I should, what should I do? Like should I, and if so, what should I do next? What would you kind of tell that person? Well, I mean,

Richard (28:02):

If there’s good, if the, if there’s good reason to do it, like it’s a, it’s a product that’s important to them, then it probably pays to do research to find out what exists that’s similar to it and get a professional opinion on, on what you could get patented there, whether it’s worthwhile getting it protected. But there’s that answer. But then there’s also the if you’re selling a product on Amazon and it, and it looks generally distinctive, you should just do a design patent because it just pays to have a patent on it. You know, here’s the thing is if you have a design patent on something and then a competitor copies it they make something very close to it. You know, Amazon doesn’t generally go too deep on considering well what was the priority? They don’t go deep at all in that consideration.

Richard (29:00):

So you’d likely be able to get them shut down. So it pays to be the one having the design pad. I’m sure many of your listeners know who’ve gotten shut down unfairly because of a design patent. It pays to be the one holding the patent. And I’ve helped people to get listings reinstated based upon looking at the prior art, but, but certainly without that type of inquiry without someone really pointing it out, Amazon’s not going to go that deep. So, so if you have a product that seems distinctive, it pays to do the pays to do a design patent. It, there are so many more when it’s, it’s worthwhile then then for when it’s not, unless you think it’s a listing that’s just going to, you know, Peter along with low sales figures, maybe sell four figures worth of a product per month or per year, then maybe it’s not worth it

Charles (29:57):

Or if it’s really, it’s just a me too product at that point, then you can’t do it. But if it’s a me too product then, then it doesn’t pay. Okay. Yeah. And it sounds like one of those things where, so if Amazon, basically if there’s a back and forth between two sellers, one has a design pattern and one doesn’t, it’s almost like a design patent just like wins by default. If both have it. That’s when an actual attorney to become a little more involved and actually parse the particular patterns. But without that, it’s almost like customer service just kind of looks at it and says, ah, he has a pattern. He must be, he or she must be the, it must be the winter of us.

Richard (30:31):

Yeah, sort of. I mean not really in the real world, but in the Amazon world. Yeah, sure. That’s kind of how it works. And that’s the other thing we’re almost just talking about. Yeah.

Charles (30:41):

Amazon world, there’s a whole world outside of that, right. Where you would actually, you know, some would be [inaudible]

Richard (30:48):

Yeah, exactly. And collect damages. Yeah. And sometimes in the Amazon world it pays to do that as well. I mean you know, I have clients that have products that get ripped off and they, they get them shut down with a design patent, but the damages are worth pursuing. The damages that in the meantime are make it worth actually pursuing a lawsuit against the other seller.

Charles (31:15):

Okay. Yeah. Cause we’re just talking so far just about literally trying to get that listing removed or just someone you blocking you somewhere from sounding like that sort of thing. But there’s a whole nother level of, of going nuclear that you could take this of something’s really big, something’s big and really hurt you. Yeah. So it could make sense. So just having those, it helps to get them shut down. But if you re if someone really moved in on you, then you could actually go and take actual legal action.

Richard (31:42):

Yeah, exactly. And, and to give you the flip side on it too something that I think you need to consider when you are shutting someone down on Amazon is you don’t want to just kind of wheel that weapon of the design patent to shut people down. Even if you know that it’s unjustified. Like, you know, that they’re that your competitor isn’t that close to yours. I mean, it kind of looks close, but you know, that’s because of the similarities of things that have existed for 10, 20 years. You want to be careful about, about wielding that weapon and, and, and using it to shut down your competitors because they can come after you for damages for unjustifiably shutting them down.

Charles (32:26):

Oh, the competitor. So the competitor could actually have legal action to say, we showed that on our listing. We have all these products now. We can’t sell them on Amazon. Our whole business tanked your fault.

Richard (32:36):

Yeah, exactly. And I, I mean my colleague and I have actually successfully, successfully collected damages from a company that unfairly shut down our client on Amazon. So, you know, the, the, the person who did it knew that they were, they were playing the game in a sense of, of, or, you know, kind of playing into the little amount of knowledge Amazon has about designing patents and you know, they shut down my client’s listing with a product that really wasn’t really wasn’t close. And, and they knew what they were doing and we, we got money from them.

Charles (33:20):

And it sounds like either way, you should, at least, you should know that in the back of your head that if you’re going after someone, even if it’s completely just completely, they copied you, they can still come after you with a lawsuit. So it doesn’t even, and you at least you have a, you know, some ground to stand on at that point.

Richard (33:35):

Yup. And, and I actually know another kind of very well known seller who had that done to him where the company, he shut down a listing and it was quite fair that, that, that he did. But they, they came after him and sued him for damages for shutting them down and got him to kind of withdraw his complaint. And and, and he, he essentially settled with them because they were a big seller and they had a lot of money to just fight the fight and he didn’t want to fight. So they you know, they, they really bullied him with that counter tactic. So it’s it can work that way as well. Yeah. This is one of those, yeah. This this is a weapon that can couple, yeah.

Charles (34:28):

Ways, right. Where it can be a very good thing, but can also, you’ve got to make sure that you’re using correctly and even if you are, it can still come back and

Richard (34:35):

They could, yeah. And it just goes into that principle. I mean, people can Sue anything. People can Sue anyone about it and anything. Basically, it’s a question of whether they would win, but sometimes that doesn’t matter if they can out resource you. Yeah. And so you know, that’s something that I think in business in general, you, you just need to be aware of and need to expect that. The, the bigger you get, the more likely you’re going through track lawsuits. I mean, I know people that are selling in the 10 to $50 million range, that arm in a number of lawsuits and that’s just how it goes. They get in product liability lawsuits, they get sued for trademark infringement, they get sued for patent infringement. I mean in that range even I’ve see a number of sellers that have their own in house counsel. In other words, an attorney, they’ve hired full time because of the legal issues that Mount up as you get into that range. Yep. So it’s unfortunate. It’s just something that, that’s part of scaling is being aware of the legal issues and being aware that the legal issues get bigger as you get bigger.

Charles (35:46):

Okay. All right. Well, I want to be respectful of your time. That super helpful. If people want to contact you, if they have some questions. And this is something also, can you, and are you able to work in every state or is this like a state by state thing or like, so people want to find out more? Is that something they can even contact you or is this just a state of

Richard (36:06):

Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah. I mean patents are federal, so I’ve had clients in every of the 50 States at this point, over the past 25 years. I mean we’ve gotten 2000 patents for our clients and they’re all over the place geographically. In terms of if, if someone wants to find out if it’s a match to work with us, you contact my new team. You could go to my website, Goldstein, patent law doc com. You can email my assistant, welcome at Goldstein, and you know, there, they’ll explore with you whether it’s a match to work with us. Also, I think it’s helpful to learn about the patent process. There are videos on my website. You could also find, I’ve got a free video course at patent And and lastly, if you want to, to really learn how it works, how, what the process is like to get a patent. I wrote a book for the American bar association. They asked me to write a book to explain to them entrepreneurs how patents work. It’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent. And it’s on Amazon, it’s less than $20. And if you read that, it’ll put you in the 99th percentile of Amazon sellers of how much you know about patents and it’s just written in plain English, easy to read.

Charles (37:26):

Yeah. It’s one of those things, if you read a book on a completely unknown topic, it like you fail, all of a sudden you like a hundred X, you don’t have to be, you don’t have to actually know that much, but you know, a hundred extra stuff, that one thing. So that’s a great resource. So

Richard (37:38):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, the way I see it is just investing a few hours into into reading could have a tremendous impact on your business. Yeah. I’ve had a tremendous impact on, on the way you scale your business and the way you avoid problems with other sellers.

Charles (37:54):

All right, well, I’ll definitely do it in the show notes. I appreciate you coming on today. It was great chatting.

Richard (37:58):

Yeah, thanks so much.

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