Every Brand is Vulnerable to Infringement. Amazon Brand Registry is Trying to Help

What is Amazon Brand Registry and what are its benefits?

Amazon Brand Registry is designed to protect customers and business owners from people selling counterfeit products or otherwise misusing their marks. The goal of Amazon Brand Registry is give business owners full control over their brand’s product listings and related content.

Amazon Brand Registry allows brands to submit intellectual property infringement claims, report marketplace violations (including product review manipulations), report listing issues (including incorrect detail pages), report technical issues, and escalate previously submitted cases. These measures allow brands to monitor suspicious activity and regulate how their products are distributed on Amazon’s marketplace.  involving their brand.

This program also gives business owners access to marketing programs, including Enhanced Brand Content, Amazon Storefronts, and the Amazon’s Transparency code program. These programs increasing businesses’ presence on Amazon’s interface, all while ensuring brands are protected from counterfeiters and infringers of all kinds.

 

What is a Trademark?

 A trademark is a source identifier or “brand” that signals to consumers a product or service come from a specific source.   Trademarks protects consumers by ensuring they purchase the product or service they intend to purchase, and protects companies’ quality control standards, advertising investment, and consistent customer service.  In short, trademarks prevent “confusion” in the marketplace.

A trademark can be any word, logo, phrase, symbol, image, design, smell—or any combination of these elements—that identifies the source of a product or service.  The strength of a particular mark depends on its capability to distinguish itself from other goods or services. A made-up word, or “fanciful” mark, is the strongest kind of mark because it serves no other purpose. Fanciful marks include brands like “XEROX” and “KODAK.”  On the other end of the spectrum, “generic” marks, which are incapable of being trademarked. Generic marks include words such as “pen” for pens or “cup” for cups.  No one can clam a trademark (or the “exclusive right”) to a generic mark because everyone needs to use these terms to identify the product or service.

Registration of a mark is not required to own or enforce it.  As soon as a person or business begins using a mark in connection with their good or service, they will acquire “common law rights” in that mark—assuming no one else used the same or similar mark before them. Registration of a mark, however, significantly enhances a person or company’s rights in their mark.  For example, whereas common law rights are only generally as broad as the geographical area where the mark is being used, a federally registered mark receives nation-wide protection. Most importantly, Amazon Brand Registry only accepts and protects federally registered marks.  In addition to a federal registration from the U.S., Amazon also accepts trademarks that have been registered by the trademark offices in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates.

How can you get started with Amazon Brand Registry?

First, you must federally register your mark. To do this, you must first conduct a thorough audit and search of existing marks to ensure that another mark does not block or stop your federal trademark application from registering. It is best to hire an experienced trademark attorney to conduct a proper search or you will likely miss marks that legally, though not intuitively, match your mark.  Ideally, you will apply to register a strong mark, such as a fanciful mark to ensure its registration and enforcement.

Once an attorney has advised you on the possible mark conflicts, the attorney will then prepare and file your application with the United States Trademark Office (the “USPTO”).  The USPTO will review your application approximately three months after you submit it. If it approves your application, it will publish your mark for a one-month “opposition period,” where any person or business that believes your mark will interference with their rights can file an Opposition proceeding against your mark.  Usually, this does not happen.  If no one opposes you mark during this month, the USPTO will then register you mark about two or three months later.  When your mark is registered, you will receive a registration number that you can then use to enroll in with Amazon Brand Registry.

In addition to a federal registration number, Amazon Brand Registry also requires you to provide a list of product categories in which your brand intends to conduct its business.   Lastly, you will need to provide Amazon Brand Registry with a list of countries in which your brand’s products are manufactured and distributed.

Saper Law Offices, LLC is a business and intellectual property law firm that helps entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and multi-national corporations protect and enforce their intellectual property and business interests.  For questions or representation, Saper Law can be reached at 312-527-4100.

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