Why did Shopify suspend my site over a false trademark claim?

Liquorstars
Visitor
3 0 0

Shopify is simply horrible with how they are handling my matter. I have been a Shopify premium owner for 4 years. Just in fees I pay over 15k a month with them. I recently got hit with a fraudulent “trademark infringement” on 4 out of 3000 products. Keep in mind instead of contacting me via phone or email. They decided to listen to a person who signed by law that it was his photos (he signed by law although is located in Mexico where law doesn’t apply from the U.S) and claimed it was his photos. My photos are watermarked and made by me. Now shopify has suspended my website. Customers have emailed me thinking they got scammed. Received in 1 day 13k in charge backs all because they decided to suspend/shut down my website. I lost all my marketing in google and Facebook ads for the day (paid for it) without getting any sales. And I have been on a stupid chat with a “representative” who gave me the a pathetic and generic reply “the legal team will get back to you” with no sort of time frame. Keep in mind this is my source of income for my family and I and the 30 employees I have. And they are taking their sweet time. I have asked to be reached out to for the last 4 hours and never got a reply. More than fed up with this and will for sure be going public with this.

Replies 3 (3)

StephensWorld
Shopify Expert
1327 155 325

To quickly answer your post directly -- there's not much anyone on the forums here can do to help you get in contact with the legal team faster. If you're simply posting to share your experience, then that should be allowed, but if you're trying to expedite your dispute, posting on the forums probably won't help. 

 

It's really unfortunate that Shopify's legal team decided to handle things this way, if it was, in fact, only 3 products with potential infringements. It would of made a lot more sense to just remove those 3 products (or temporarily hide them, until you can get new images) and continue with business as usual. Shopify's legal team definitely prioritizes actions against the platform (and mitigating exposure) over supporting it's merchants. I'm not sure if it's always been this way, but that's definitely the case these days. Their 'act first and ask questions later' approach isn't ideal for merchants. With that said, Shopify is a multinational business at this point, so they're having to juggle legalities amongst many countries, which can't be easy. I'd like to see a bit more cooperation on their part with merchants, but I really don't know the in's-and-out's of what's possible (legally speaking), so maybe they're already doing the best they can. It definitely doesn't inspire a lot of faith in the platform though, if your store gets shut down unexpectantly.

 

One thing worth noting though is that trademarks are filed on a country-by-country basis, and you don't need to be from the country to have a valid trademark. For example, a Canadian can trademark something in the USA, and then that trademark (if approved) would be enforced within the USA (even though the person is Canadian). So just because the guy filing the complaint is from Mexico, doesn't mean he can't have a valid trademark in the USA. If you take someone's image, slightly edit it, and then add a watermark over it -- that doesn't omit or protect you from trademark disputes. 

 

I would strongly recommend not pulling images from 'stock photo' sites (or even worse, Google images), to use on your site -- especially if you're a larger business (you mentioned you have 30 employees), as you'll be an easy target for legal action. A lot of these takedown requests and dispute submissions are done automatically (by bots/programs), so if it's easy for folks to crawl your site (ie. if you have good SEO), then they can potentially cause issues for you, without needing a real personal to even do anything. It's always best to have your graphics created from scratch, by a respectable graphic artist, so that you know there's no chance of them using other people's work to create yours, and thus, avoiding any potential disputes in the future. 

 

I wish you the best of luck with resolving your dispute!

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https://stephens.world
support@stephensworld.ca

Liquorstars
Visitor
3 0 0

I appreciate the reply! Truly do, and the trade mark thing was not about him being in another state and they were his trademarks Im just saying that as in taking further action for him claiming these were his. All in all yes it was 3 products. Although there was no reason for them to suspend a site for that. Truly impacts ads and trust with the clients. This post wasn’t to help with the matter just to show the struggle I had. Hoping they can resolve this soon.

jorgehp1
Excursionist
53 0 9

Hello, i’m in a similar situation, my store has been blocked for 10 days now and there is no way to reach the legal team.

 

How did you handle it? Did they reply you?