In a novel and bizarre set of events, a trademark attorney has found herself in a legal battle with Amazon after trying to help her clients attain additional trademark protection through the Amazon Brand Registry.
The attorney, now the plaintiff in this legal action, took over multiple ongoing trademark applications from a previous attorney who had been sanctioned by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for unethical practices. Despite this less-than-ideal situation, the applications eventually became registered trademarks.
Seeking additional protection against potential infringement, the plaintiff’s clients desired to submit their marks to Amazon’s Brand Registry (ABR). Then, unexpectedly, Amazon turned away these ABR applications mistakenly believing that the plaintiff, not the prior attorney, had been sanctioned.
The plaintiff then reached out to Amazon hoping that the company would rectify the issue. After the company assured her that the misunderstanding would be taken care of, the plaintiff did not hear back from the company, leaving her in a state of uncertainty.
Concerned about more potential rejections of their ABR applications, multiple of the plaintiff’s other clients sought guidance from different trademark attorneys only to find that the plaintiff’s name had been added to the “Amazon Blacklisted Attorneys” list being passed along throughout the intellectual property community. Due to the plaintiff’s inclusion on the list, the clients’ marks continued to be rejected from the ABR.
Citing a damaging to her professional reputation due to this mistake, the plaintiff filed suit against the company claiming she had been defamed.
This situation highlights the importance of knowing who you are hiring as your attorney. It is important for clients to hire attorneys who firmly believe in transparency and ethical practices. Had the clients’ original attorney been trustworthy, this unfortunate situation could have been avoided entirely.