Most businesses, especially those that manufacture and sell tangible goods, understand the value of having a strong trademark portfolio. Many of these same businesses have also come to understand, sometimes grudgingly, that Amazon is one of the best, if not the only, ways to sell their goods to consumers.
So how do these two things—trademarks and Amazon—relate?
The answer: Amazon Brand Registry.
What Is Amazon Brand Registry?
Amazon Brand Registry is a tool designed by Amazon to help businesses better protect their brands when selling on the Amazon platform.
It does this by giving businesses tools to more easily find and report instances of trademark infringement, as well as using information provided by businesses to proactively police attempts to violate or infringe on a business’ trademark.
For example, Brand Registry can identify and take action on the following practices:
- Sellers shipping products from countries where you neither manufacture nor distribute.
- Images containing your logo used for products that don’t carry your brand name.
- Creation of product listings with your brand name when you’ve already listed your full product catalog.
Brand Registry has seen widespread adoption, with more than 130,000 brands worldwide enrolled, according to Amazon.
Amazon also reports that as a result of Brand Registry, 99% of all Amazon page views by customers landed on pages that didn’t receive a notice of potential infringement. Pretty compelling evidence of its efficacy.
Who Is Eligible To Enroll?
For a business to be able to use Amazon Brand Registry, it must have an active registered trademark in each country in which it wants to enroll. So, for example, a US business enrolling in the US would need to have an active registered trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Tip: Amazon currently only accepts trademarks that have been issued in the following countries: United State, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the European, and the United Arab Emirates.
To be eligible, the trademark must appear on a business’ products or packaging. The mark can be either in the form of a text-based mark (e.g., company name) or an image-based mark (e.g., company logo).
The trademark registration process can take close to a year in the US, so don’t delay in working with a trademark attorney to prepare and submit an application if you anticipate selling products on Amazon.
Related: How To Register A Trademark [Step-by-Step]
Related: Trademark Registration FAQs
How To Enroll Your Brand(s)
Assuming a business meets the eligibility requirements, including having an active registered trademark, it can enroll a brand or brands by providing the following information:
- The brand name that has an active registered trademark
- The trademark registration number (this can be found on TESS, the US trademark database)
- A list of product categories in which your brand should be listed
- A list of countries where your brand’s products are manufactured
Remember that before you can enroll, you’ll need to register your trademark.
The lesson here is that trademark registration is more essential than ever, particularly for companies selling on Amazon. Without a registered trademark, you won’t be able to make use of Amazon Brand Registry, which will put you at a competitive disadvantage in attempting to protect your brand.
If you’re considering trademark registration, the starting point should be working with an attorney t o search and clear your mark for registration.
Related: Trademark Search and Clearance