Protecting Your Brand With Mario Simonyan
Protecting Your Brand With Mario Simonyan
Martin Zerrudo 0:00
Welcome to the What Do You Do Next? podcast brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. Whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through. We're here to help. We interview experienced sellers, strategic service providers and other ecommerce experts who will help you answer the question. What do you do next?
Martin Zerrudo 0:25
Hi, I'm Martin Zerrudo and I'm the host of the What Do You Do Next? podcast whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand, but can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through? We're here to help we interview experienced sellers top strategic service providers and other seasoned ecommerce experts will help you answer the question, what do you do next? past guests on our podcast include Misha from Pacvue, Brian from Elemental Brands, Mike Jackness, from EcomCrew, and many more. This particular episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. We're global ecommerce agency providing essential Amazon, NetSuite and Shopify service solutions for brands. Let me give you a quick example. We had one client in manufacturing they sold a product on Amazon but they weren't doing so well in terms of sales, we started handling their DSP ads. And by the way, our AMS former Amazonians are running our ads department in our company. We took them from A to request to 8.3. So basically what that means in about six to eight months, they spent 300,000 and made 2.4 million in sales. If that sounds interesting to you, please let us know. Visit us at selleruniverse.agency. Okay, but the main show the main reason why we're here today I'm talking with Mario Simonyan. Mario is from ESQgo Mario is an experienced and incredibly knowledgeable IP lawyer intellectual property before founding ESQgo Mario built and sold to seven figure businesses on Amazon. Congratulations, Mario, that's impressive. As a result, he has a deep understanding of the unique challenges modern businesses face, particularly when it comes to ecommerce, his knowledge and experience both as a lawyer and an entrepreneur are woven into the very fabric of their firm. Mario and his team bring modern legal solutions to the problems that modern businesses encounter in today's global marketplace, both online and in the real world. So congratulations, for all that fantastic success. And impressive bio. When I hear lawyer and entrepreneur, it almost sounds like you're living the life. My mother wanted me to live. Just like please be a lawyer, and also super successful in business. So maybe like on the other half of it. But you got both. So thank you for joining us, Mario. Yeah. How are you today? And tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mario Simonyan 2:27
Thank you, Martin. Appreciate that. I'm doing well. A little bit about myself. I think you did a great job with with introduction. But yeah, started selling on Amazon in my second or third year of law school. And just at that time, I had no idea what I was doing. But started selling just because we need I needed additional income and just working while you're in law school. Didn't make any any sense, right? Just because you don't
Martin Zerrudo 2:54
have enough time. Of course, which law school were you attending if Thomas Jefferson in San Diego. Oh, fantastic place. Yeah. Beautiful sister last week. San Diego's beautiful,
Mario Simonyan 3:04
yeah, it's changed a lot. I used to stay at East Village. Oh, I see like a 10 minute walk from the Gaslamp district. Wow. Even that has changed me and my wife took a trip down there maybe about two years ago. And I remember seeing my old apartment. I was like, I spent so much time that
Martin Zerrudo 3:21
day. So you are in your in your second or second year of law school. It's did a did a roommate did a colleague to say hey, this thing Amazon is blown up you got to start selling had?
Mario Simonyan 3:33
No, no, I actually was looking at like opportunities. I mean, I've always been in business. I mean, even in high school me and one of my friends started a printing business where the wholesaler and we would go around, knock on doors of local businesses and say, Hey, do you need posters? They need business cards. Do you need flyer a?
Martin Zerrudo 3:54
Yeah, this was a successful was it lucrative?
Mario Simonyan 3:57
Depends on how you define successful you know, as far as money wise, no, but it was great experience. I mean, money but our main asset that we had that we walked away from that company was was a $450 laser color printer, which back then was
Martin Zerrudo 4:15
man was the bee's knees. Yeah.
Mario Simonyan 4:20
So So I remember that. But I think when I was a child, I think I would I had this entrepreneurial DNA or spirit, you know,
Martin Zerrudo 4:29
is that something your your parents fostered in you?
Mario Simonyan 4:32
D fostered even though they weren't entrepreneurs or business owners, right? But like my, my uncle was, my grandparents were or my grand fathers were I should say to be sighs but never my parents, but they always sort of advocate for that. They always encouraged us to do that, you know. So I think that's where it comes from, sort of what were the products that ended up that you ended up launching? So First two products that I was the first product while in law school on Amazon. private label product I did was a three in one avocado header what was butter hitter and dicer something like, wow. So that was the first product. I brought in 1000 units from China and this I did air shipments. So about the shipping or what was even possible, did that and it was around the holidays and sold out within I want to say a month, maybe two months.
Martin Zerrudo 5:33
One month. That's an orders. Yeah, back then. I
Mario Simonyan 5:36
mean, it was a lot easier. It was a wild wild west. Really the wild wild west. Yeah. But I was like, This is great. So I was like, Okay, let me bring more of that product. And I also added a strawberry stem remover.
Martin Zerrudo 5:50
Oh, I just bought strawberries the other day. And I was like, it is such a hassle. But oh man, because my wife and I we love strawberries. So you got this product on online and then you brought it over
Mario Simonyan 6:01
to I got it from Alibaba. Yeah, there you go. Yeah, but that's what we did. That's what I did. And just grew from there. It was a home and home and sort of home goods and, and garden there,
Martin Zerrudo 6:15
which ended up being more successful. The avocado cutter, the Pitter, I think
Mario Simonyan 6:19
it was avocado, I think it was avocado three and one that was more successful. And what was
Martin Zerrudo 6:24
the what was the brand called? Was it like avocado? No, no,
Mario Simonyan 6:27
no, the brand was called zestiness. That's, that's what I call it. And I've never heard that before. But the way I came up with that is I heard
Martin Zerrudo 6:38
those videos of people who make food and they said zesty on the top. Like that was
Mario Simonyan 6:43
no, no. I think I was too immature as an entrepreneur. Do videos back then. Maybe towards the end, I had some videos made. But I had a box of candles that I had ordered from Amazon. And I was thinking about a brand name and I saw zesty that was the name of the candle company, I guess. And I was like, okay, he's yesterday. And I was like What rhymes with zesty sort of nest? I was like, okay, that's like your home. Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. So just go with that zesty nest. zestiness. Yeah,
Martin Zerrudo 7:15
I like it.
Mario Simonyan 7:16
I ended up selling that to a very nice lady out of Florida.
Martin Zerrudo 7:24
Was that always the goal to exit? Or what did you have dreams of being the next KitchenAid? And like dominating the zestiness? You know, brand everywhere?
Mario Simonyan 7:31
Yes. So that's one of the reasons I did sell. I didn't have a passion for running as a business. But I'm like, What the heck am I doing? You know?
Martin Zerrudo 7:40
Of course, of course. So I'm guessing this story. Sorry. Go ahead. No, no, go ahead. So I'm guessing this passion now. Okay, a second year in law school, you start these two products relatively successful. Was there another brand that you started? Or are these the two that
Mario Simonyan 7:54
no, that's the next was one. And then so once that got going, and I remember, it was pretty successful. I remember walking into Cisco horrible to even mention, but I remember walking into into law school and just fester. And like, I would be on my sellerapp. So it's not showing them. I'm biting care about that. But just looking at myself. And I remember I used to have like a $9,000 deals like today, I made more money than
Martin Zerrudo 8:22
investment in these, you know, passively, right? Yeah.
Mario Simonyan 8:26
So it's those like, just like, I was proud of it, you know, but I didn't. mechanism and all those sorts of great moving parts that went into running a business, but eventually, obviously, I did learn and I'm still learning, you know, businesses is one of those things
Martin Zerrudo 8:43
where you never you never stop learning, of course, what was the second? What was the second brand? Yeah, so that's
Mario Simonyan 8:48
what I got is this thing that sort of I was like, Okay, this is sort of doing them all on its own. Let's just let it go. At that point, we started bringing in another, another product. So okay, so let me tell you how the second product second company ended up being is I got cocky enough where I ordered four or five big rolls of artificial grass because at the time, la here in LA there, the city or the county was around rebates was giving out rebates. Yes, because of the drought was given our rebates for people to sort of change their front yards and their backyards. And it was just a huge market. This also cookie, let me bring four or five rolls and I'll just sell it right, sell it on Craigslist, or just post somewhere. I in probably six months, I ended up selling one role. And and and at that point, I mean, the personnel was willing to buy live like 45 minutes away, and they they said you know, it's only around the biases if you sort of bring it to me. Yeah, to go find a bat for me to put it in.
Martin Zerrudo 9:53
How big are these rolls? Oh, it's
Mario Simonyan 9:55
pretty big. It's probably what is this? Maybe we're five We know stuff four, five, maybe three feet wide. And then how tall? Oh, it's pretty long. Obviously at least 10-12 feet
Martin Zerrudo 10:07
long Wow city like a pickup truck or something. No,
Mario Simonyan 10:11
I ended up getting the van. I ended up getting the van. I ended up getting two guys from the local like Lowe's or Home Depot to help me out. And then we delivered it 45 minutes ago, and I was like, this isn't worth it's not worth it. So maybe
Martin Zerrudo 10:24
Mario Simonyan 10:26
Yeah, but what ended up happening is I still had a few rolls into. I was like, What the heck do I do with this? And it's been like, six, seven months already. I was like, let me cut it up and make doormats with it. Yeah, first and family thought I was crazy. Right. So ended up going back to Home Depot grabbing a few guys and saying I want you guys to cut it in 18 to 24 size. Right. I ended up cutting those and those were selling like hotcakes.
Martin Zerrudo 10:54
Yeah, artificial grass. doormats. doormat. Yeah,
Mario Simonyan 10:58
I was the first person to do that. Now you look there's a whole bunch of right but this goes back to IP. Like if I if I knew then what I knew some sort of IP around it right. And that would have been easily a million or a couple million dollar thing. ideal. But yeah, so it's like lesson learned. But we we were doing that just on cheap and dirty. Like just buying bags, poly bags from from Uline putting into their stickers out I would print with a printer and just putting it on there. And then just expanding the variations. Like we did get a 24 size inches 24 by 30. And then 24 by 48 Like a runner for sliding doors. And we couldn't we couldn't keep we couldn't keep enough in stock. So ended up going to the manufacturer. Wow. And just manufacturer that created these or manufactured this turf for like FIFA stadiums. Right? Like soccer.
Martin Zerrudo 11:55
Oh, no way. So like legit like astroturf?
Mario Simonyan 11:58
Yeah. They're like, what do you want to do? I want you back. Yeah. And and they did, obviously charges for it. But it made sense. They did it. And that's what that's what we did this. So that was still part of his estimate. Right. Okay. The second. The second brand that we created was like a refurbishing we would refurbish. This is when Amazon renew first came out. So the second brand where we would refurbish it, sell it on Amazon renew certified, refurbished and into Amazon renew that I sold to a gentleman here in Orange County, southern California. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. So those are those are the two brands and Yeah, after after selling I was in the process of, of getting married. So got married when I came back. It was like, Okay, what's next? Right? Like, I'm done with Amazon as far as getting these products because I had no passion for it, of course, of course, has already passed the bar nose and attorney. I was like, Okay, let's, let's do research and see if there if there is enough demand for for, for, for law firm for Amazon sellers. And I remember you went on vacation. I remember being in Rome. at an example. You went on honeymoon. We went to we went to Rome. And we did Italy, Venice, Rome and Italy. And then we went to Greece. We did. We did Santorini and then we didn't make it so badly.
Martin Zerrudo 13:30
How long was the How long was this honeymoon for
Mario Simonyan 13:33
21 days? Most people go for like three days. Yeah, but yeah, but if you're going to Europe from gotta make the
Martin Zerrudo 13:41
most of the time that you can't do that for three days. Oh, man. After 21 days. You're like, why go back?
Mario Simonyan 13:47
No, I was ready. I was ready. You're
Martin Zerrudo 13:49
ready. Got it? Yeah, no, my
Mario Simonyan 13:50
wife will tell you I anytime I travel now my laptop has to be with me swiping for otherwise, I would drive her crazy. And now so So I remember being a being in Rome, I would wake up early and go to a coffee shop just underneath the hotel. And then sit down and watch YouTube videos about how to do market research to see if there is really a market for this idea that I came up not not that I came up with. But my next idea of being a law firm for Amazon sellers. Everything I looked at Martin it was like no, no, like don't do cannot do it. And it was all No, like don't do it. I was like crap, like okay, all this is telling me no. I am doing it anyways. Alright, I've got one
Martin Zerrudo 14:35
that push like, hey, if everyone's saying no, it's just because you're like I'm gonna do I'm gonna go against the grain and do what people think is impossible.
Mario Simonyan 14:42
I don't think it was that. I think it was. I've got nothing better to do on Amazon on and even in law school. I always knew I wanted to work with entrepreneurs and I wanted to work with owner I didn't want to do sort of criminal law or family law. ours are a sort of personal injury law. I know I wanted to work with entrepreneurs. And we started off with just IP, we would just do trademark. Right. And so that developed into our clients on the back end saying, Hey, you guys, were really cool about doing the trademark, like you guys also help with account reinstatement was like, Okay, well, I've done several of those for myself, and I've got a pretty good understanding. Like, okay, we'll try it. And so that just developed and mature to where now we do it. And also anything with with marketplaces, just suspensions, or just anything else with the marketplace as far as legal services. So yeah, that's that's sort of a 20 Minute. History. Yeah.
Martin Zerrudo 15:48
So where did the idea of ESQgo come about? How did that
Mario Simonyan 15:52
itself? So yeah, we pronounced that ESQgo, read a really complicated, no need to complicate it, and no one can pronounce it? Where did it come from? I had to domain ESQgo ESQgo.com. In law school, I was trying to do another project, sort of like a software for for attorneys that never worked out. So I had this domain, it was like a short domain. A little bit difficult to pronounce. But I was like, this works. Let's just go with that. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. No, no real fun story or interesting story behind that.
Martin Zerrudo 16:26
When you launched it. What were the early days like? ESQgo? Is it just you by yourself? Did you bring in a bunch of teammates? Oh,
Mario Simonyan 16:31
yeah, no, early days, it was just me, it was just me. And I remember I was, I was in the process of selling the second brand. So I was sort of like juggling both. And, and one of my, one of my employees was helping on the on the Amazon side while I was doing this, but I'm just like any other business. I mean, it's not like I put in like $100,000 into this and said, Alright, let's go ahead and hire this person, that person that I sort of develop it. I realized, for me, as far as like the mindset shift, for some reason, it was tough for me to go from selling physical products to a service. So I had to sort of overcome that. Looking back. I don't know why that was, why that was a obstacle or sort of a challenge. But it was I see my vertical now. Right? I see. But yeah, starting out, it was just me. And then just growing. I was I had a pretty wide network, just because if you're an Amazon community you are. So I think it was just getting the word out that hey, this is what I'm doing now. Right?
Martin Zerrudo 17:33
What would you say was like the biggest turning point? Okay, you started off by yourself? When did you start being like, Hey, this is picking up some traction here who
Mario Simonyan 17:41
have never been asked a question. I think it's it wasn't like a one big moment. I think it was just micro moments. I don't think it was like a one big moment. I mean, I could say like hiring my first associate or hiring my first employee,
Martin Zerrudo 18:00
how did that feel? That's someone who's usually you know, a solopreneur? Who is selling products on Amazon, actually?
Mario Simonyan 18:06
Scary. Very scary, very intimidating.
Martin Zerrudo 18:10
What scares you about that process?
Mario Simonyan 18:11
I think, just wondering if this is the person that you really need? Right? I feel that I'm gonna be able to help does this person care about my business? Is this person going to care about my clients? Because when it's just you running it, it's easy for you to care? Right? These are your clients, it's easy for you to care. And I think should challenging when you don't have a culture, like, company, company culture, right. So that's why I think it was it was scary for hiring the first employee.
Martin Zerrudo 18:46
As that was growing, you hire first employee, your second employee, Were there certain, you know, pitfalls and mistakes that you learned a lot from in that process of you gaining that traction?
Mario Simonyan 18:54
Yeah. Last year, around June, July, we had a lot of turnover. Seems like everyone I found like I was just doing a horrible job, right? of hiring. And it was just turnover affects the company's performance to and it was going back and saying, Okay, who am I looking at? Right, actually sitting down and writing job descriptions where I would never have done and I never did do in my Amazon business, right. So that's why that's why I mentioned earlier, like, you're always learning you're always evolving as an entrepreneur. Right. And so I think it was gone back to that saying, Okay, what are the KPIs? What's the job description? What would this person be like, right, what talents what skills would they have? What education what employment history, and I think that was very helpful. It's just for entrepreneurs. It's difficult to get to that point. Even though people may tell you, hey, you need to develop a job description. Unless you sort of feel like the patient. That's really what will drive you or at least with with me, that's how it was. Who
Martin Zerrudo 20:00
was your best? I guess, sounding board confidant who who did you turn to during those times? Were like what's going on here that was giving you the best advice?
Mario Simonyan 20:09
Yeah. At that point, I think we already had consulting. So right now we've got several consultants. We've got a fractional CEO, CEO and a fractional CFO who we meet on a weekly basis. Back then in the early days, I think it was just me and my wife,
Martin Zerrudo 20:27
just you and your wife, what was the industry that your wife comes from my research? My wife
Mario Simonyan 20:31
comes from ecommerce to now no way sort of illegal to me. Yeah. But back then, back then it was just sort of me consulting with them and saying, What do you think about this situation? Right? Yeah.
Martin Zerrudo 20:44
Was there anything that she said that you're like, Ah, never thought about it that way?
Mario Simonyan 20:48
No, absolutely. She does. Yeah, creditor her. I mean, but I think just having a woman's perspective is completely different than the way most men around me think at least. So I think that's immensely valuable. Like even yesterday, I was talking to one of our employees, and he brought up a certain, like, personal challenge. And I said, whenever we face it like that, like consult with your wife, alright. Oh, yeah, I would say the same thing to the women in our company, like consult with your husband, it's important to get both those perspectives, because it can be very different. You know,
Martin Zerrudo 21:25
it's funny, if I may say it quick. Yeah. So we have monthly town halls, right? We try and, you know, instill company culture, you know, and it really edify top performers and have a good time. We had a recent town hall where I didn't have a lot of time to really develop a full fleshed out deck and story, I usually tell like a really cool story, try to inspire the team. And I was just slammed that whole week with like, back to back meetings and discovery calls. And then I had like, literally five minutes morning before the townhall started, and I'm like, What am I going to frickin talking about, right? And I have this idea, which is a disastrous idea. And I'm like, halfway through putting this together and my wife walks in, and she's like, somebody's going to talk about I'm like, Okay, thank you for like, the five second pitch. I'm like someone talking about this. I'm going to show some pictures. And she's like, don't do that. Like, what are you doing? And I'm like, I don't have a lot of time. I only got five minutes. I gotta figure this out. She's like, No, try something else. Maybe if you do it this way. And I'll tell you right now is 100%. Like, I just need to get this done. So I think this idea is solid. Let me just go with it. But she was 100%. Right? I pivoted, even though I wasn't sold 100%. And that ended up working out because to your point, sometimes you just need that outside perspective.
Mario Simonyan 22:34
Yeah. Yeah, sometimes in your head, what is just you? Everything makes perfect sense, right? Absolutely. And then when you have an outside bookcase? Then you start realizing it. Okay, maybe you have a point. I mean,
Martin Zerrudo 22:52
so it's good. It's good that you not only do you have your wife and for female listeners, if you're married if your significant other. But to your point, you know, bringing in the right kind of people, you know, we use traction at Seller Universe as a as our EOS right. You know, right person, you know, they get it, they want it, they have time for it, do they fit your core values, and revolutionary, honestly, for us as an agency and as an organization to implement something like that? Because you really, you can always go with your gut, but your gut is not infallible, because I mean, and one perspective is not as good as a systematized group of perspectives, you know, in line with the company vision, so. So with that, you had mentioned something in our pre interview something called SynArb? Is this, like, gonna save global warming? Is this going to stop the war? In Europe? What is going on?
Mario Simonyan 23:44
It may do all of that.
Martin Zerrudo 23:47
Perhaps perhaps, no, no,
Mario Simonyan 23:49
not at all. So synthetic arbitration or SynArb, this one we were talking about. So it's funny how we came up with this, and I'll get into that in just a minute. But really, when looking at the Amazon, sort of dispute resolution system, in terms of sales, I really had two choices, right? It's like one is dispute internally with the stock performance team or with executive team or with their legal department and so forth, or take Amazon to arbitration, which is super expensive, right? So super expensive, and also takes a lot of time. So well, we've developed this sort of this middle ground like a third option. And when we coined it, synthetic arbitration, or SynArb, SynArb are sharp, and this is our Mario, before
Martin Zerrudo 24:37
you continue, can you can you give us an example of what scenario sellers would face that would put them in a situation where they happen to make those kinds of choices between going to arbitration and the first one that you mentioned? Sure. So
Mario Simonyan 24:48
for example, if you've got a pretty successful business brand on Amazon, and now the account is suspended, right, and you've tried everything with internal teams and nothing is working So now, Amazon has essentially shut down, let's say you're doing 5 million in revenue. So you really your only options are those to deal internally or go to synthetic arbitration. Sorry, or go to our actual arbitration with American Arbitration Association. Yeah. So that was really the only options. And if you take Amazon to arbitration, on average, you're looking at spending 60 to $80,000. And it's probably going to take about eight to 12 months. Right?
Martin Zerrudo 25:27
Wow. Because it's not just to start the process with the whole process, low cost, you
Mario Simonyan 25:31
know, the entire process, because also in there is attorney fees, right, I'm including attorney fees in there, I'm uploading these to the AAA, and I'm including fees that you would pay to the actual arbitrator. The arbitrator can sometimes be like a retired judge or retired attorney, who now plays like this unbiased party that'll hear both sides, and then make a decision right now, it's just think of them as as a judge. Right. That's, that's an easier way to think of them. But that's really the point. So that that's one of the situations that can lead to, you are now sort of facing both these both these options. So what we did is we came up with a third option i And again, we trademarked the term synthetic arbitration and SynArb. But really what we do is we go to the law firm that represents Amazon. This is a law firm out of Seattle, Washington, and we send them our demand letter, and we say, here's what we want. Here's the facts. Here's Amazon's policy, there BSA clauses and so forth. And here's our arguments. And here's our demands. If we're unable to reach a resolution, we're going to recommend that our client goes to eight Amazon to actual arbitration, right? So Amazon will take some time, go ahead and investigate it along with their attorneys that I mentioned, and then come back to us provide a letter and say, here's why we decided to reinstate the account, or here's why we decided to go ahead and comply with the demands that you guys made, or here's why we decided not to write, at least we have a communication we've got a relationship with, with the attorneys, and we know who they are they know who we are. So that worked out well. So we sort of expanded the scope of that, and not just for accounts of suspensions. But we also included like, what if clients, FBA inventory is destroyed or lost, right? So no, so we help with that, too,
Martin Zerrudo 27:28
because I help you guys do reconciliation or recovery,
Mario Simonyan 27:31
assuming that they've gone through the steps of trying to file the cases themselves. And that hasn't work. Like now they need to escalate it. That's one thing that we can take through synthetic arbitration. Yeah. So that's one thing, but I remember talking to one of their attorneys over there. And I said, what sort of matters can we bring to you guys? And they essentially said everything under the sun. So I was like, wow, let me let me let me really push that. So I remember one of our good clients came to us, this is a pretty large seller, and they had something like 100,000, UPC codes that they have purchased from from just one. So essentially, they purchased a block of these UPC codes. And they were maybe only using, let's say, 10,000. Right. They go to add 25 more products, and they realize these UPCS are taken self and else's using our UPCS. Yeah, someone online had found out that, hey, this block is not being used. So we're using it themselves, or they were selling it right to other people. Oh, man. Yeah. And to make things worse, it was on not just amazon.com, but it was on in other markets. Walmart is on Amazon countries, right? Europe, Japan, Australia. So they're like, can you guys help? I was like, here's the only way I can see us helping is if we go through synthetic arbitration. And I remember talking to the attorneys, I was like, Can we bring something like this to you guys? And they're like, Yeah, I think we can help it might take some time, because now you guys have like 80,000 UPC codes for and sort of the activate across several marketplaces. But we did. And honestly, that took on average with synthetic arbitration, we're looking at a four to six month timeframe. This one took a little bit longer just because there was so much to do on Amazon 10. But also, we went back to miss if can you guys at least released like 25 or 30, like clean 25 or 30 UPC codes, you saw a client can launch these products, because imagine they got everything ready to go. The only thing that still had the obstacle, the only platinum I think, issue is a UPC code. So again, anything sort of random and just special projects that that we have, we can we can take through synthetic arbitration. Another interesting case was we were helping our client with renewing their trademark. This was an old trademark, an old manufacturer out of Sweden, and they never were interested in selling on Amazon. So what they did is they found an authorized The retailer who they gave permission to be the only seller on Amazon, and this other seller also had brand registry. Now, our client wanted to start selling on Amazon. But that authorized retailer was now not releasing Amazon brand registry or like it's mine, right? Because now they're going away and eliminated from the picture. Yeah. So our clients, like, what can we do again, or like synthetic arbitration? Let's try that. And we were able to help, right? Oh, speaking of Amazon brand registry, we actually had another client out of Singapore, Taiwan, Arabic seller. And also, I think, pretty good friend, slash colleagues. You know who you are, if you're listening. Very nice guy. And he's also got a family. So I think we connect well with, with other entrepreneurs that have, but for some reason D had a competitor, gain access to their Amazon brand registry, and they were filing complaints against their own ASICs from their own Amazon brand registry account. So again, we took this to the brand registry. So there's there's a lot that we've done outside of just your Amazon account suspensions, and FBA reimbursement. So that's something that definitely we're proud of. And, again, going back to this entire business and always learning, like one of the one of the objectives, one of my goals now for this year, is to schedule like a week or two weeks of just creative time, where I could just sit down not be not be contacted by anyone on my team, but the business can still run it on its own at the same level that I expect, but to give myself time to sort of get creative and say, Okay, how else can we help these Amazon sellers? Right? What other service? Can we provide that maybe others aren't doing very well? Or maybe is new and no one has thought about yet?
Martin Zerrudo 31:54
So question Mario, in your process of doing this arbitration Middlewood obviously, you're run your own brands before that comes with some extensive experience. You're obviously you're I forget the term, it's like you've passed the bar. So you're part of this the Law Society that you you have
Mario Simonyan 32:11
your part? Yeah, you're an attorney, you're the only way you're 30 is if you pass the bar
Martin Zerrudo 32:16
now. So with those two significant credentials, what is asked go able to do that a normal VA, who's in the Amazon space doing for a client in terms of handling a similar type of case? Sure. Great question.
Mario Simonyan 32:31
And I think just if you don't mind if we could just broaden the scope a little bit of not just ecommerce, just consultants too, right? Yeah. So consultants or VA? Why go to a law firm? Instead of going into like consulting or thing, right? For some, if we're being honest, Martin, for some situations, a consultant is more than enough? Of course, of course, right. However, for other cases, it's not. But something for for sellers, sort of keep in mind is consultants can only do so much, there comes a point where an attorney is needed to sort of further escalate it. Right. So I think, for example, dealing with Amazon's legal department, or dealing with their external law firm law firm that represents Amazon. I don't know, if if consultants were to contact them how they would be apt or how they would respond. Right, right. So that's one and number two are some things like if it's an IP suspension, you really want an IP attorney to take a look at it. Right? I remember. So here's something super secret that we do. And I'll share with you
Martin Zerrudo 33:40
awesome, no one's listening, I promise. Yeah, no
Mario Simonyan 33:42
one's listening. But this is things that other other businesses can you know, about every quarter or so we'll call our are sort of, I really don't like consider them competitors, but other sort of service providers in our industry, and sort of do like, like the script that we've we've developed to sort of gain an idea of what they're doing, and maybe what we can improve on, right? I'm all for learning from others. I don't care who they are, right? We can learn from you. I want to learn.
Martin Zerrudo 34:10
It's a fantastic mindset, for sure. Of course, can I throw some scenarios at you? And just tell me how ESQgo would handle these particular instances? Sure, sure.
Mario Simonyan 34:10
But let me let me just finish this. So yeah, what are the consultants that we call we presented a patent issue, right. So so for anything patent related, like if you're gonna do make a decision on whether this patent is infringed by this product, you need a patent attorney. I'm not an attorney. You've got Pantone on staff, but I can't even do it. Right. Right. I was talking to this to this young gentleman, and I sort of just continue to set up traps and he fell into it, right. He was mentioning about sort of bacon decide internally, even though they don't have a patent attorney about whether there's infringement on this patent claim and so forth. So Those things like that you need to be careful of right? Oh, wow. So that's why I say when it when it comes to it, you really want an IP attorney to take a look at it. Right, right. There's only so much consultants can learn. It's not impossible, obviously. I'm sure there's consultants out there that know a lot more than IP attorneys. Right? Yeah, just generally speaking, it's probably better for an IQ to take a look at it. Yeah,
Martin Zerrudo 35:24
it's true. It's like if you're paddling upstream, would you rather be in a canoe or a motorboat? Exactly, no, it was like, you can maybe get there, it's probably take a lot longer, it's gonna be a lot harder. motor boats can be more expensive than the canoe. But
Mario Simonyan 35:37
also keep in mind with with attorneys, if anything does go down, you can actually sue them like, you know where they are, you know, because their regular state and federal state, right,
Martin Zerrudo 35:48
you have liability insurance. But you've never had to use
Mario Simonyan 35:53
or how to use it. And hopefully we don't, you know, it's a business. That's right. We're with these consultants. Like maybe that's one of the questions you ask is Do you have insurance? And how much right? Yeah, it's true. Yeah, like for our, our insurance, I mean, we've got several different kinds of insurance. Again, this is part of developing as an entrepreneur and as a business lawyer, I think we've got three or four different kinds of insurance, judges general liability malpractice, workers comp was the other one. Oh, employee practices?
Martin Zerrudo 36:26
I'm not sure our
Mario Simonyan 36:28
employee price. Right. So again, check with consultants, but I doubt any of them do?
Martin Zerrudo 36:34
Probably not? Probably not. Okay, so I'm gonna hit you with some lightning around scenarios, you just let me know what you think is best. Okay. So I'm on Alibaba. I see a product that I love. I make a minimum order, maybe 1000. Units, I put my logo on it, sell it on Amazon, can Alibaba claim copyright infringement or a patent infringement if I just resell it on Amazon, but I put my brand on it.
Mario Simonyan 37:02
So let me take a step back. So let's talk about the three different branches of IP in sort of what they protect, generally. So anytime we're talking about trademarks, we're talking about brands, logos, brand names, or slogans, right. So one easy way to remember this is I've got a great picture. It says Nike and just text it has a Nike swoosh sign their logo, and underneath those, just do what it's doing. Those are like the main three types of Oh, nice, right, okay. Up there. Just as Nike, that's your brand name, the sports thing, that's your logo, and then just do it. That's the slogan. So that's what a trademark protects. A copyright protects anything artistic write books that you've written poems, ballets, choreography, photos, so things like that. And even architecture, that's what copyright protects. So anytime we think about copyrights, think about artistic. Okay. And then patents just think of inventions. That's really an easy way to remember. So when you say, typo, a person brought or put their logo on it, can China or the manufacturer go after them? With IP, it's jurisdictional, meaning if I have a trademark, here in the United States, it's only valid, right? You in Canada, you could use the same trademark for the same goods in Canada. And there's nothing
Martin Zerrudo 38:26
I could do about it. So long as it doesn't exist. You're already exactly
Mario Simonyan 38:29
assuming Yeah. But what I've seen is you wouldn't be you wouldn't be infringing
Martin Zerrudo 38:32
on my trademark that I have here in the US, because I'm in Canada, in your jurisdiction is jurisdiction. So could we safely assume that if Ali Baba is selling these products for those with the intention to bring to another market another jurisdiction that they wouldn't have filed a US patent on the products that they're selling from China?
Mario Simonyan 38:52
So let me just make sure I understand the question because a small difference can make all the other. Okay, got it got it got a world of difference, right. So there's a manufacturer on Alibaba, China, and hypothetical person A goes and purchases goods from there brings it to the US to sell. Yes. And your question was, can we assume that they don't have a patent here in the US or some sort of IP? We can? No, we can't.
Martin Zerrudo 39:15
For those who usually do private labeling, that's essentially the process that they go through? Are they putting themselves at risk for patent infringement? If they're, if they're purchasing from Alibaba, and they're just putting a brand on top of the product?
Mario Simonyan 39:28
No, I definitely don't think so. I'm just that's what I used to do, too. But I think when you're asked, Is it possible that a manufacturer in China can have a patent here in the US for a product that they're manufacturing and selling and also selling to other people? The answer is yes. Now, that would be horrible business for them if they decided to enforce it. So they sold them some of you 1000 units.
Martin Zerrudo 39:48
I'm sure the hypothetical person isn't the only one who bought that product. Yeah, but their brand on
Mario Simonyan 39:52
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So even though it's possible I don't think it's realistic. I don't think it's it's possible All right, perfect. Perfect.
Martin Zerrudo 40:01
Thank you for that. Yeah. But the IP? Yeah. Okay, question number two. My brand is registered on brand registry. I'm doing well on Amazon. The next thing, you know, there's a competitor product almost looks exactly the same as mine, the logos just a little bit different. Is that competition? Or is there a means to combat that?
Mario Simonyan 40:21
There. So if you've got a trademark, on your trademark application, you list the goods or services that you provide, and what this brand name or this logo, right? Even if even if the logo looks exactly the same, but it's like upside down, right? Or it's a little to the right. And if it's the same products, or services or similar, right, then that could definitely be trademark infringement. In the trademark world, the standard is confusingly similar. If your mark is confusingly similar to another person's mark and want to say mark, it's really short for trademark
Martin Zerrudo 40:58
trademark. So there's a case to be made, then it's just a slight variation. It's the same category, same product.
Mario Simonyan 41:03
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Just think about think about. I remember when we were in high school, or when I was in high school, this was pretty,
Martin Zerrudo 41:10
pretty popular. But we're the same age of 29. Go on.
Mario Simonyan 41:13
Oh, you're 29?
Martin Zerrudo 41:14
I'm no, I'm not. But let's
Mario Simonyan 41:19
see, I mean, you definitely can't look 29. But remember, Gucci, like there would be fake Gucci bag. And just like, I think there was an extra STI or even Adidas. Yeah, instead of a D, when
Martin Zerrudo 41:31
I saw a buddy in high school, instead of it saying nice, they took that. Yeah. And is that Nick, but it still had this?
Mario Simonyan 41:37
Yeah. So even that, I would argue that that's confusingly similar. 1000. Right.
Martin Zerrudo 41:44
And then last question, Mario, and thank you again, it's been fantastic. Look, it's 50 minutes gone by I feel like I'm talking five minutes. This, I don't think there's going to be the last time you're on this podcast. Hopefully, you're up for a few more episodes. So we could talk a little bit more granularity on some of the cases that you've worked on. But, okay, the term like throwing bad throws throwing good money at bad is there certain scenarios in synthetic arbitration in the situation where people come to you for help that you think, hey, this might be an arduous, prolonged process? It can be very expensive, I don't advise throwing good money at this likely bad outcome situation? What are some of those scenarios where you would advise, probably not a good idea to go for it?
Mario Simonyan 42:25
No, absolutely. For example, and we do this all time, for example, if someone comes to us and says, You know what, I have $3,000 of damage or lost inventory, can we go to synthetic arbitration, our minimum starting price for synthetic arbitration is 3500. Right? Now, we may change the price later on. So I don't want someone a year later, two years later to say, Hey, you said your minimum is 35. That may change. But right now, it's 35. So I would tell them, like it doesn't make business sense for you to spend $1 to get 50 cents back, of course. Right. So things like that. But But I think in other situations, I think part of that conversation is getting a better understanding of what exactly is at risk and what how much money is on the line, right? So for example, if someone's got an account suspended, and they're like, Well, I don't know if if synthetic arbitration makes sense. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't, but it's helping them sort of have that conversation and being that outside consultant or outside advisor today, okay, how much money are you making? How much money would you lose? If you were down for, let's say, per month? How much money would you lose? What other assets does a company have? Does this mean that if you don't get this account, reinstated, that everything else is gonna go away? Alright. So I think as long as you've got an accurate accounting of what is on the line, and how much you're going to be investing to get to get to account back, then I think there are some scenarios where it doesn't, right. Yeah, but I think most of the time, if you've been in business for a while, you don't want to just throw it by the die. You know,
Martin Zerrudo 43:58
of course, if there's a chance, and it's not a, you know, there's a likely chance of success, then why not? I want to be respectful of your time. I know, I only got two questions left for you, one. Who in the space in the ecommerce space, would you like to give a shout out to who has been a great strategic partner, somebody who has helped you along the way? Any tool or software provider that has been really clutch in helping us go grow? Who would you like to give some shine to?
Mario Simonyan 44:26
There's so many partners that we have, I don't think it'd be fair for me to just point out one of them. I'm not going to play favorites, which are my two kids is, is my favorite is your favorite. They're both your favorite. They're both my favorite,
Martin Zerrudo 44:39
any recent, I guess they're all they're all under confidentiality. Are you able to talk about curtain clients that have been, you know, fantastic to work with the recently
Mario Simonyan 44:49
Oh, so here's how it works with dedic arbitration. So once we go there, if they're going to pay you even a single penny, you're going to sign a confidentiality agreement. You're not hoping to take this case any further, you're not going to take them to arbitration, you can't take them to court, and you're not going to talk about this. Right? So all of them, I don't care, we've had cases over a million get resolved through through synthetic arbitration. And we've had some that are just a few 1010s of 1000s of dollars, right. So, I, there's, there's a lot of clients that they do like that. And honestly, I really mean that like, like, we've got a policy of like, we don't want to deal with any assets, whether that's employees or clients,
Martin Zerrudo 45:33
I just did that to somebody yesterday,
Mario Simonyan 45:36
just makes life a lot easier. So that's our internal policy. So we do have some favorite clients that we've we've had a long relationship business relationship for long now. But honestly, I mean, any entrepreneur that you work with, that you talk to, they're all doing this to, to help with their family, you know, and I think that's one of the values that we've we've been able to successfully instill sort of take it full circle and go back to hiring the right people is any case we work on, it's not just a here's a business, right? There's an entrepreneur behind it. And that entrepreneur probably has a family, and has employees, and each of those, each of those families, as each of those employees has a family. So that's sort of what I've been successfully able to ingrain in my in my people. And that's why it's like anyone we work with. They're they're all amazing people, and they're doing things that 98% of the rest of the population is
Martin Zerrudo 46:28
no, it's fantastic. And I'm sure, they'll attest that you're also amazing in terms of not only a business owner, and a boss and a leader, but also someone that I've discovered in our 50 minute conversation is passionate. Thankfully, despite your successes in different categories and fields of industry, you found where I think you're meant to be. Yeah. And so lastly, Mario, we've been talking again to Mario Simonyan from ESQgo. How can people learn more about you the services that ESQgo provides and the wonderful things that you can do for them?
Mario Simonyan 46:55
Sure. So they could go to our website, ESQgo.com esqgo.com. There's information about all of our services there. And we've got a newsletter, they sign up for every Tuesday, we send out, send out an email pretty helpful, I think, especially if you're an Amazon seller. Otherwise, I've got a book coming out in maybe three months. Hopefully they'll or no way. Yeah. On The Corner of Amazon and IP. Corner grams.
Martin Zerrudo 47:25
I love that name. That's when we could come back. Yeah. Oh, please. We'd love to promote the book. If you want to send me a copy of your copy. Okay, that's fantastic. I appreciate it. None of that. Great. So again, that was Mario Simonyan from ESQgo, please visit their website ESQgo.com. And really give some some thought into not just how they can help you today, but how you can protect your brand and your trademark and your patents in the future. Again, thank you so much Mario for joining us. I'm sure this will be the last such an educational and insightful conversation. I look forward to having you again in the future. Thank you so much.
Mario Simonyan 48:05
Thank you, Martin.
Martin Zerrudo 48:09
Thanks for listening to the What Do You Do Next? podcast. Make sure to tune in again next time and make sure to click subscribe to get updates on future episodes. Take care