Near the end of July, the online behemoth’s shares were trading upwards of 40% year to date. Coming on the heels of Amazon’s announced acquisition of Whole Foods, and if the deal is approved by US regulators, the stock could be poised to double to a valuation of nearly $2000 a share. This shift firmly places Amazon in the race to become the first company valued at over a trillion dollars – a contest being fought by Amazon, Apple, and Alphabet (Google).
Amazon recently announced and instituted a new program to fight against intellectual property violations called the new “Amazon Brand Registry.” Through this program, Amazon hopes to decrease intellectual property infringement occurring on their marketplace. So here’s what you need to know.
In order to enroll in Amazon’s new brand registry, you or your company needs to be the owner of a federally granted “standard character trademark” on the Principal Register. The Principal Register is a federal registry run by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registration on the Principal Register allows the registrant great procedural and presumptive benefits in infringement law suits. Additionally, registration on the Principal Register puts third parties on notice that your brand is currently being used and that a violation of your intellectual property rights may elicit legal hostilities from you or your company. Principal registration also affords you the right to use the ® symbol next to your brand.
Here are the requirements:
- The trademark must be registered in order to be on Amazon’s Brand Registry. Merely having submitted a recent trademark application with the USPTO is insufficient.
- Your trademark must be registered for use with goods. If you are only offering services under your mark you cannot enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry.
- Amazon requires enrollees to upload images of the products displaying the trademark.Your trademark must be printed on your products and/or the product packaging. If the trademark does not actually appear on the products themselves, the trademark must be placed on the product packaging.
- If your product uses a logo, Amazon requires you to upload a digital image of that logo.
- You will also need to list of the types of goods protected under the trademark and provide a list of the countries in which the products are manufactured and distributed.
- Amazon also requires you to provide a working website link that shows your branded products and trademark. Also, you need an official email address.
- Furthermore, you need to provide Amazon with a Unique Identifier for your products. Unique Identifiers are things like Catalog Numbers, EAN (European or International Article Number), JAN (Japanese Article Number), Manufacturer Part Number, Model Number, Style Number, UPC (Universal Product Code).
After you have completed your online enrollment form, Amazon will email a code to the official email listed on your trademark registration. If you have retained counsel who receives your email communications from the USPTO, you will need to get the code from them. Only after you have entered the code into Amazon’s system will your enrollment application proceed.
If your brand was previously registered on Amazon’s registry prior to April 30, 2017, you will need to re-enroll on the new system. As long as you meet the requirements for registration on the new Amazon Brand Registry, you should certainly apply for the new program. If you do not meet the new requirements you cannot re-enroll in the new system.
Benefits of Enrollment
After enrollment, Amazon will provide the registrant “access to powerful tools including propriety text and image search, predictive automation based on your reports of suspected… violations, and increased authority over product listings with your brand name.” Although Amazon does not require sellers to be listed on the registry to report potential brand infringement (you can do so via www.amazon.com/report), being on the registry gives you greater and expedited violation report review. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of the registry. The quicker you can take down counterfeiting and infringing products from the marketplace, the less of an impact the sale of fraudulent goods will have on your brand and company’s reputation. Being on the registry also provides more control over product page details – things like product specifications, product images, and the title of the product.
If you have a registered United States trademark, and you are selling products protected under the mark on Amazon, you should certainly take the time to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry.
Where to Go
You can get started with your enrollment on the Amazon Brand Registry at this link: https://services.amazon.com/brand-registry.html
ANTHONY BUCHTA JR. is an Associate Trademark Attorney at LegalForce RAPC Worldwide. He holds a Juris Doctorate degree with a Certificate in Law, Science and Technology from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He attended Northern Arizona University for his undergraduate studies, earning a B.S. in History with minors in Political Science and Criminal Justice & Criminology. Anthony is an avid Sun Devil Football fan who enjoys playing the guitar and saxophone. He is admitted to practice law in Minnesota.