To take advantage of the procedure, the patent owner files an Amazon Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation Agreement (the Agreement). The Agreement includes the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) of the product in question. Amazon then sends the Agreement to sellers offering the product under the supplied ASIN. Once the seller receives the Agreement, the seller then has two options:
- Continue forward with the procedure, or
- Remove the listing
By providing the seller an option, the Agreement helps prevent fraudulent claims that are aimed to take legitimate sellers out of business for days or weeks while the claim is being evaluated.
A $4,000 deposit is required by the parties if all sellers agree to participate in the program. The deposit is paid to a neutral third-party attorney at the end of the program. The third-party attorney is independently selected by Amazon. When the parties agree and payment is made the patent owner has 21 days to submit arguments. Once the patent owners’ arguments have been filed, the seller then has 14 days to respond. Following the seller’s response, the patent owner is given an optional 7 days to submit a reply.
Once all arguments have been submitted, the neutral evaluator has 14 days to render a decision finding that either that the patent owner is likely or not to succeed. If the neutral evaluator believes that the patent owner is likely to succeed, the product is removed from Amazon. Consequently, if the neutral evaluator believes that the seller or
It is important to note that the Procedure does not permit appeals, the losing party still retains the option to file a lawsuit.