1718 – Intellectual Property Protection with Esqgo’s Mario Simonyan

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to Leadership Consultant, HR Expert, Author & Speaker of ESQgo, Mario Simonyan.

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Mario Simonyan is not just an intellectual property law attorney, but also the founder of ESQgo. His firm represents third-party Amazon seller brands, assisting them when they encounter issues with the marketplace or competitors.

Mario emphasizes the importance of proactive measures to protect a brand and avoid future problems. He recommends conducting a clearance search to ensure that the chosen brand name is not already in use.

Mario discussed a unique case where one of their clients had purchased 80,000 UPC codes for their upcoming product launches. However, they discovered that someone else was using their codes, causing potential losses of millions of dollars.

Mario and his team were able to reach out to Amazon's attorneys and resolve the issue, but it required a global effort to fix the problem.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Mario's work with ESQgo and their representation of third-party Amazon seller brands
  • Importance of proactive measures to protect a brand on Amazon
  • Specialization of ESQgo in intellectual property (IP) law, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents
  • Proactive steps sellers can take to protect their brand, including consulting with an attorney early on and conducting clearance searches
  • Mario's personal story highlighting the importance of protecting intellectual property
  • ESQgo's flat fee basis and their aim to help third-party sellers lacking guidance from Amazon
  • Unique case of UPC code infringement and the global effort to resolve the issue
  • Assisting sellers with various unique and miscellaneous situations they may encounter
  • Importance of having a plan in place to mitigate risks and threats to a business

About Mario Simonyan:

Mario Simonyan is a prominent figure in the 21st-century digital landscape, seamlessly blending e-commerce expertise with legal acumen.

With a background in creating and selling two seven-figure Amazon brands, he possesses a unique perspective on the complexities of online business.

Mario's entrepreneurial journey equipped him to found ESQgo®, not just as a lawyer but as a seasoned online entrepreneur. He has received accolades such as the Super Lawyers Rising Stars recognition and is an esteemed graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Mario has been featured in mainstream media outlets like Bloomberg and LexisNexis, showcasing his legal expertise. His articulate insights at events like the White Label Expo in Las Vegas highlight his prowess in navigating the challenges of e-commerce.

Additionally, Mario authored the best-selling book, “On the Corner of IP and Amazon,” delving deep into the intersection of intellectual property and online businesses.

As a licensed attorney in California and Washington, his dedication to modern legal solutions drives ESQgo®'s vision, positioning the company at the forefront of the dynamic global marketplace.

About ESQgo:

ESQgo, PC, is a leading intellectual property law firm established by a seasoned Amazon lawyer and former successful Amazon seller with over $1,000,000 in sales.

Specializing in guiding online business owners, ESQgo assists clients in various aspects, including Amazon account and ASIN reinstatements, removal of listing hijackers, intellectual property complaints, and appeals.

Their expertise spans various e-commerce issues, providing comprehensive legal solutions tailored to the digital marketplace.

What sets ESQgo apart is its forward-thinking approach. Beyond addressing immediate legal concerns, the firm prioritizes clients' future aspirations and potential in the e-commerce industry.

With a focus on current challenges and long-term goals, ESQgo, PC, ensures that online businesses receive expert legal guidance and support for sustained success in the competitive digital landscape.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out ESQgo at

Check out ESQgo on LinkedIn at

Check out Mario Simonyan on LinkedIn at

Check out Mario Simonyan on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Mario Simonian. Mario, you are an intellectual property law attorney and the founder of Isco. Isco is found on the web at ESCO. That's ISK Mario, thank you so much for joining us.

Mario (00:01:14) - Absolutely. Josh it's a pleasure.

Josh (00:01:17) - All right. Give us an overview of your work with Esco.

Mario (00:01:20) - Sure. So I'm the founding attorney here at ESCO. And we represent third party Amazon seller brands. Right. So that's anyone selling on Amazon. Most people that buy from Amazon, they may not realize it, but probably 70, 80% of time they're buying from Amazon third party sellers. Right. That may be people like me and you or your neighbor. So we represent them when they get into trouble with the marketplace such as Amazon. Or they have issues with competitors, right. Once you get really successful on Amazon. Yeah, things get very competitive and can sometimes turn a bit nasty. So that's why we're there to help out these third party brands.

Josh (00:01:58) - I'm sure you get plenty of 911 calls, but do you also work with clients proactively so that they can protect their brand and help avoid future problems?

Mario (00:02:08) - Absolutely, absolutely. So the second practice area that we have is IP. So trademarks, copyrights, patents because it's all about having that, especially now with Amazon. And I think all of just e-commerce getting more competitive, it's imperative that you have your trademarks, copyrights and patents in place.

Mario (00:02:28) - So we do also help with that.

Josh (00:02:30) - Yeah. What does that work usually look like? I mean, so let's say that someone like they recently just maybe they source some product overseas. Right now they seem to be making some good traction with that product. They're kind of looking at the competitive environment and they kind of see a path where, you know, this is probably going to work out pretty well for them. What work might they or should they be doing with you. Like what particularly I'm thinking of like the stuff that they can be doing proactively ahead of time so that they can be very smart if they're planning for, you know, global domination with their product.

Mario (00:03:05) - Yeah. So very good question. So initially it starts from the beginning, like before you even have a website, before you even have a brand name, right. What you want to do is make sure you've got an attorney or a trademark on your roster or on your list of sort of advisors. Right. And from there, you're looking to come up with brand names.

Mario (00:03:24) - Any brand name you come up with, you want to have the attorney or the trademark attorney run a clearance search just to make sure that no one else is using that name, that brand name. Right? The worst case scenario you want to get into is building a foundation of your brand name, and then realizing a year later, once you're ultra successful or the brands are successful, that you know what, actually Josh in Texas as this and he's been using it before me, now I need a rebrand. So all that packaging, all that material, all the marketing down the drain, now you need to rebrand it. So it starts with the trademark. And then after that you're looking at what products do you have? Can you protect your product or your idea with some sort of patent, some sort of copyright or trademark? So that would be the second step, right? Yeah. But my my advice is talk to talk to an attorney if you like. I've got an interesting story of one of those where I wish I knew back then what I know now that I had sort of funny but not funny story.

Mario (00:04:24) - So I used to be an Amazon seller myself too. I started selling in while I was in my second year of law school, and my first product that I brought in from China, Private Label, where it's got my brand name on it. Josh, it was a 3 in 1 avocado slicer hitter. What else? Cutter. Right? Sold out within 2 or 3 days. I remember is sitting in my law school class, and I'm just constantly refreshing my Amazon Seller Central account to see what the sales are. And remember the second or third day I'm looking at at the sales and I'm thinking I, I'm very confident I made more money right now than my professor standing in front of. So that happens and I get a little bit too cocky, a little bit too confident. And at the time here in LA, the city of LA, or was it the county, one of those? They were giving out reimbursements for anyone replacing their their lawn with artificial turf. I don't know if you guys have that, but I thought, you know what? This is a great opportunity.

Mario (00:05:27) - I already know how to import from China and all of that. Let me bring in a few rolls of artificial grass. So I bring in 4 or 5 big large rolls of artificial turf, and it's just sitting there in my driveway. I realize I can't sell this on Amazon, so I was looking at Craigslist, sort of listed on there. I was able to sell one, but it was such a big pain. I had to hire a few people to help me move it and deliver it to. The guy who purchased it at the end. Don't even think I made any money off of it. Right? So these remaining rolls of grass are just sitting in my in my driveway for a couple of months. One morning I'm having coffee. Just looking at this. Just in maybe regret, you know, just what was I thinking doing this? And then I had the idea, let me cut this up and make it into doormats. So I was like, you know what? That sounds like a good idea.

Mario (00:06:23) - First size I did was 18 by 24in and then 24 by 30. So I go down to Home Depot in in Burbank, grab a few helpers, come up, and I'm like, cut this up. And they're like, are you crazy? So we ended up cutting it. I had poly bags from Uline that I ordered and just some really crappy looking stickers for, for the packaging that I printed off a color printer. And, and we, we sold out. We couldn't keep those on the shelves. Right. That's amazing. Mistake. Yeah, but my mistake again, if I knew now what I know back then, or if I knew back then what I know now, right. I would have protected with some sort of IP, whether it's a trade, a design patent or some sort of trade dress. Right. But now the market's flooded. But that's one of those situations where it's like, you know what, don't be like me. You can be creative. And most entrepreneurs are right.

Mario (00:07:17) - But talk to an IP attorney because I think a quick call would have saved me a lot of money because back then I was in law school, second or third year of law school. So that would be my my little story of, yeah, what you should do.

Josh (00:07:32) - As for someone who's not an Amazon seller, what is? And I know that there are a lot of opportunities for things to go sideways when you are leveraging the platform, right? I know that Amazon, you know, is pretty buyer focused and centric. And unfortunately, I've heard stories of, you know, sellers just being in an unfortunate circumstance and sometimes, you know, getting that support from Amazon can can be challenging. Is that accurate or because I just know this because I've I've had these conversations. I've just heard these horror stories and I'm like, no way. So it's might be nice to have some folks in your corner should, should something, you know, at no fault of your own happen.

Mario (00:08:15) - Yeah. So your seller account can be suspended for really several reasons.

Mario (00:08:21) - Right. But it boils down to it's either something that Amazon does. Amazon is sort of the culprit or it's one of your competitors, or it's yourself or your team, your employees. Right? For example, if you don't ship on time, if that's an issue, Amazon may suspend your account. Or it could be something that Amazon is or Amazon system sort of picks up on. But it's not accurate because at the end, Amazon is sort of the judge and jury in these cases. Right. So it could be just Amazon's mistake where it's sort of a false flag where you didn't really do anything wrong, but somehow their algorithm or systems suspended you for no reason. Or the third category is it could be one of your competitors who's playing dirty. For example, if you were a competitor, mine and was just a horrible person and said, you know what, Josh is a competitor of mine. We're both selling pens. I'm going to file a bogus trademark complaint on his account, right, and get the account suspended.

Mario (00:09:14) - Now, to Amazon's credit, Amazon has gone better about suspending the product listing or the Asin instead of the account. So they have gone better about that. But again, it's still an issue because things are always changing. It's always a cat and mouse game with Amazon and those that are playing dirty. Amazon's always coming up with new programs to sort of fight that. And again, those people, they do what they do. So it could be several several reasons. But yeah, one of the reasons that our law firm exists is to help those third party sellers, because sometimes they feel lost. Amazon doesn't provide much guidance. Right. So that's that's why we exist.

Josh (00:09:52) - What does the relationship typically look like with your clients? Like I just, you know, for someone that maybe hasn't engaged back up or has never engaged intellectual property law attorney, how do you typically work?

Mario (00:10:06) - So most of the cases that we have are flat fee. Just because we've done this so many times, we know exactly how much time it's going to take and what these issues are.

Mario (00:10:14) - But for those more unique or miscellaneous situations, we do charge hourly, like one of the weirdest cases that we've probably gone that we may never get for the next 25 years is one of our clients. Larger seller had 80,000 UPC codes that their company had purchased because they were launching products as they were going along. Well, they're getting ready to launch 25 new products. Josh. And then they realize someone else is using our UPC codes. It's not us, it's some other random person. Turns out someone had found that list of UPC that they had purchased and they weren't using it, so they started using it, right? So now our client has 25, 25 products that they're launching, and we're talking about a couple million dollars. So we were able to reach out to Amazon's attorneys and have Amazon's attorneys help us fix all of this. But it was all over. It was worldwide marketplaces where people were using their UPC codes. We had them sort of give us about 2530 UPC and it's like, now go fix the rest.

Mario (00:11:18) - But now at least we could launch these products, right? So it could be just miscellaneous very, very unique situations that we could also help with. And I think that's what's also interesting is with Amazon's attorneys, it's sometimes very collaborative, but other times it's very adversarial. Right. And to their credit they're pretty good about balancing those those roles.

Josh (00:11:41) - Yeah. Mario for our friend that's been listening to our conversation, they're an Amazon seller. And they probably should start putting their dream team together. Right. You know, because of those, you know, it's like hopefully you know, you're doing that ongoing Swot analysis on your company. You know you've got I hopefully hopefully that tee box is filled with especially as an e-commerce like you should try to come up with all of those risks, all of those potential threats out there and have a plan should, heaven forbid, one of those things happen. But how do you typically like for a friend that's been listening, what's kind of their next step? Maybe. You know, we recorded this episode and they're listening to six months later, 12 months later.

Josh (00:12:24) - And, you know, they came across because they were searching on the topic and and now they know they're ready for that next step and maybe a conversation or something like that.

Mario (00:12:31) - Sure. Absolutely. So they could always contact us and schedule a consultation through our website. That's ISK, go com or call our office (424) 363-6233. But that's how they could contact us as far as what they should do on their own. Definitely do like an audit right? Make sure your is all up to date. Make sure everything you need protected and want protected is protected with IP. And that's where usually I always say talk to an IP attorney because sometimes you you may not even know that something can be protected with a trademark copyright or patents. Right? You may sort of just brush that aside and say, well, I didn't make that many changes to this, right, to this product. It's not going to be I'm not going to be able to protect it. But IP attorneys may be able to show you the right way from there.

Mario (00:13:22) - I would say on the Amazon side, again, Amazon has made some significant changes to their credit. Right. But one of the things that they came up with is the account health rating that's available on your seller central account. Make sure that that's in a healthy, healthy range so you're not at risk of suspension. But the unfortunate sort of sad aspect of this is sometimes it could just be a competitor who's playing dirty. And we've seen some dirty tricks. Josh, where oh, that's awful. Even bribed people on the inside of Amazon to suspend your account because you're such a large competitor. Right. So and again, in those cases, we're here to help. So anything we could do, we we'd love to love it.

Josh (00:14:03) - Mario Simonian again, you're an intellectual property law attorney and you are the founder of Esco. Esco again, the website is linked up to a friend that's listening in your podcast player. Just click on the little information button. Click around, click, keep clicking. You'll find it.

Josh (00:14:18) - We've got a direct link You have some really great content on your website as well that I'd recommend. If you're an Amazon seller, you go take a look at. So some it's been great. It's been great having.

Josh (00:14:33) - You here.

Josh (00:14:34) - Today. I appreciate you so much for the conversation.

Mario (00:14:37) - Thank you so much, Josh, for the opportunity.

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