As most of you all know by now, Amazon rolled out its new Brand Registry “2.0” platform in May, promising to offer improved brand protection for those enrolled—and providing yet another reason to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The new Amazon Brand Registry (Brand Registry 2.0) requires a federally registered trademark in order to participate. According to Amazon, only brands that have registered trademarks in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Union are eligible for enrollment in the new Brand Registry. (Some applicants may want to consider filing in these international jurisdictions as trademark applications may move faster than at the USPTO. Contact me to discuss if the option is right for you.)
Also, please note that Amazon seems to have very recently changed its requirement that the registered mark must be a standard character mark; as of today, Amazon appears to be approving design or stylized registrations as long as there is a text portion that represents your brand.
With this said, Amazon could change this back to requiring a standard character mark at any time! It’s a dynamic platform, and we are just doing our best at any given moment to keep up with changes.
Further, please note, even if your brand was enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry prior to the new rollout, it will not be grandfathered in to the 2.0 version. All brands must enroll in the new program AND must meet the new eligibility requirements.
Amazon’s move marks a shift in the e-commerce industry toward enhancing brand security and consumer protection: with hijackers and counterfeiters at an all-time high, internet sellers are taking all steps necessary to protect their products and intellectual property. As the undisputed leader in the industry, e-commerce giant Amazon has, we hope(!), raised the bar in providing security and peace-of-mind its sellers and consumers.
Counterfeit Removal and Transparency Programs
One of the most beneficial features of the new Brand Registry is the expanded counterfeit removal program. Brand Registry participants can now come alongside Amazon and flag potential counterfeiters.
This features will allow Amazon to swiftly take down listings, and in some cases accounts, that are violating intellectual property rights. The use of a simple “Report a Violation” tab within the program creates an easy path to brand protection.
Amazon also introduced the “Transparency” program, which places codes on products, allowing consumers to find out more information about their purchased products by scanning the codes. This program aims to cut down on counterfeit goods, as participating manufacturers can place details about the origins and authenticity of their goods in the Transparency app, among other information.
Listing Control and Enhanced Content
Registering your trademark with the USPTO and with Brand Registry allows Amazon to quickly and efficiently remove hijackers from your listing. It also allows you as the seller to participate in Brand Registry and take full advantage of all of the advancements Amazon is making, now and in the future.
These new enhancements will prevent counterfeit products from entering the marketplace (which is good for sellers and consumers!) and gives the seller more complete control over their brands. Amazon’s previous retention of control over the merchandise sold on its platform has caused many third-party sellers to distrust the e-commerce platform and some to even opt out of placing their products on the site.
Sellers can also now add more details to their listings, such as an “About” section and links to an Amazon “store” for their brand, creating brand awareness and loyalty. Now when a seller searches for a product that is enrolled in Brand Registry, only one listing will show, even if there are several other sellers with the same product. This gives the authentic manufacturer control over the search and the listing.
Wrappin’ It Up
Unfortunately for newer companies, brands with pending trademark applications are not eligible for Brand Registry 2.0. The new program requires proof of a registration with the USPTO (through providing Amazon with a Registration Serial Number); and because applying for a trademark takes months (and sometimes years), it is in the brand owner’s best interest to begin the process sooner rather than later.
While it does make some newer brands ineligible for participation, the registration requirement is essential to offering sellers brand protection and consumers an authentic and positive shopping experience.
Note, the Registration must be on the Principal Register ~ and not the Supplemental Register. Do not fall into this trap! Weak descriptive marks end up on the Supplemental Register.
Need to create a strong trademark ~ one that is eligible for the Principal Register and worthy of aggressive enforcement? Don’t get stuck with a bad brand name. Check out The Trademark Trailblazer: The Brand Name Creation Blueprint.