Amazon is an essential marketplace for anyone doing internet commerce. Fortunes can be made on Amazon, but unfortunately, tremendous sums can also be lost. Hugely successful brands are always susceptible to competition. You can be sure that if your business achieves significant success selling goods on Amazon, then it is only a matter of time until other parties start to copy your products and try to pass them on as your own. That is why it is an excellent idea for anyone selling on the web or operating a digital business to obtain and to maintain a trademark. In fact, a registered trademark is actually a requirement to join the Amazon Brand Registry. If you’re like many entrepreneurs out there you probably jumped into the exciting world of selling through Amazon and other online vendors without giving much thought to what your “brand” would feel like and be like. Even for more established businesses, I encounter more than a few who have benefited from the fruits of doing business online, but haven’t prepped out a legal strategy.
Why You Should (and Must) Join the Amazon Brand Registry?
For any brand selling on the Amazon Brand registry there are a variety of important benefits that can help you protect and expand your business. Generally speaking being a member of the brand registry offers you more accurate representation in shopping listings, and a greater degree of control for your brand’s listings. For most businesses the largest benefit is that they offer extended search functionality that can help you find different content and people potentially infringing on your brand. You can search throughout Amazon using images, keywords, or a list of ASINs in bulk and report suspected violations through a simple, guided workflow. This level of brand protection means competitors who would seek to leverage your brand unfairly are kept in check. Finally membership in the brand registry uses information about your brand to proactively remove content that may be inaccurate or is suspected of infringing on your brand.
How to Join: Who is Eligible for a Membership in the Amazon Brand Registry?
Generally the rubric for joining the Amazon brand registry isn’t intensely steep. One of the key requirements for eligibility is having a registered trademark. This trademark must be a “standard character mark” a “typeset word(s)/letter(s)/number(s)”, an “illustration drawing which includes words, letters, and/or numbers”, or “words, letters, or numbers in a stylized form” and the trademark must match the brand name printed on products and/or packaging. While this is pretty straightforward not ever business will have this. Additionally Amazon expects your trademark to be currently active and up to date. One final caveat is that your trademark must have some sort of textual component consisting of words, letters, or numbers. Otherwise there aren’t other restrictions so long as the trademark for you business has been issued through by government patent and trademark offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
I Have My Trademark Now What?
Enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry is a fairly straight forward process from here. In order to register you need:
- Brand name that has a “live” which mean up to date, registered trademark.
- Government Registered Principal Trademark Registration or Serial Number. For USPTO marks, the Mark Drawing Type must be equal to one of the following and the text much match the brand name:
- “1 – TYPESET WORD(S)/LETTER(S)/NUMBER(S)”
- “3 – AN ILLUSTRATION DRAWING WHICH INCLUDES WORD(S), LETTER(S)/NUMBER(S)”
- “4 – STANDARD CHARACTER MARK”
- “5 – WORDS, LETTERS, OR NUMBERS IN A STYLIZED FORM”
- Images of the brand’s logo, as well as images of products and packaging that carry the trademarked brand name. If the product is not branded, the packaging must be branded.
- A list of product categories (e.g., apparel, sporting goods, electronics) in which the brand should be listed.
- A list of countries where the brand’s products are manufactured and distributed.
- The ability to verify yourself as the rights owner or th authorized agent for the trademark.
- An Amazon account (which you probably already have), but all you need are your credentials associated with the Vendor or Seller Central. That said, you can also create an account for free.
While this part of the process is pretty straightforward given your familiarity with the Amazon brand registry, the hardest part tends to be getting a trademark.
Fortunately, I have filed many trademarks, I have extensive experience handling Office Actions (correspondence from examiners that may include rejections) and dealing with trademark examiners to ultimately obtain allowances for my clients.
I can take you from inspiration to patent application filing and patent grant.
I can work with you to bring patent infringement suits against infringers.
I defend parties from patent infringement suits and declaratory judgement actions.
Determine patentable inventions in your current innovation pipeline.
Patent Portfolio Analysis
Identify valuable patents in your current patent portfolio.
Trademarks to ensure your brand and company are protected as yo grow.
How I Can Help You File a Trademark for the Amazon Brand Registry
I can meet with you to discuss the optimal Trademark strategy for your businesses growth. We can then prepare, file, and prosecute Trademark applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and before the California Trademark Offices. Rather than when working alone I can provide expert assistance strategizing in the context of existing Trademarks or Service Mark and expert advice regarding your legal rights.
When You Should Think about Getting a Trademark Generally
What is a trademark?
A trademark is any recognizable design or expression that identifies your business as the source of its products or services in the minds of consumers. A trademark can be owned by any individual, legal entity, or most commonly a business organization. Trademarks can typically be found on packages, labels, products themselves, advertisements, buildings facades, or any other item that represent a reproducible, and intentionally identifiable, good from your organization. While trademarks aren’t required to do business, and you probably jumped into online selling before you had to consider it. It’s never too late, but you can get yourself in trouble if a legal issue arises and you’re not prepared.
What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?
To put simply, trademarks protect your brand. Trademarks are designed to protect the intangible property owned by your business that consumers associate with your brand and company. This can include titles, phrases, symbols, visual designs, unique typography, logos, or slogans. Whereas copyrights are meant to protect works, like paintings or books, whose value would be seriously impacted by mass reproduction.
As an example if you want to protect your newly named company, memorable logo, and flag-ship products slogan you need a Trademark. If you want to protect the name and associated catchphrase of your latest SAAS venture you would need a Trademark.
On the other hand, copyrights are generally used to protect artistic expressions that have been reduced to a tangible medium. For example, to protect a movie, eBook, or novel you’ve been working on, you’d need a copyright.
Generally a Trademark appears on goods or their packaging, while a service mark can appear inside a program, site, or advertising for a service.
Each state has their own set of laws that are distinct from the federal laws which regulate trademarks.
If a trademark is not federally registered then you may not use the Registration symbol ® and instead have to use either ™ for Trademark and ℠ for service mark.
All product and company names are Trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.