By Trademark Garden | March 9, 2018
With trademark misappropriation and associated fraud on the rise worldwide, Amazon has instituted a Brand Registry program, allowing sellers to protect their brand names and associated goodwill by registering their ownership of the brands in question with Amazon, and thus empowering Amazon to take down listings that infringe upon the registered seller’s trademark rights. This is a very popular and powerful tool, and one that every Amazon seller with their own original brand should take advantage of. But how does it work? How does Amazon ensure that the correct party gets exclusive rights to the registered brand, and how do you make sure that you get registered rights to your brand? The answer, as you might have guessed, is with a trademark registration, but not all trademark registrations are created equal, and, as such, not all trademark registrations are eligible for the Amazon Brand Registry. The current requirements are as follows:
1. While practically every country in the world has an intellectual property office of some kind that can grant trademark rights, not all countries’ trademark registrations are accepted by Amazon. The currently accepted countries are: the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
2. The trademark must be of the correct “Mark Drawing Type” to be admitted onto the Brand Registry.
The current accepted Types are:
This is the original, now antiquated, Type for a “word mark.” This encompasses any trademark that consists of words or phrases without any claim as to font, color, or capitalization, and cannot include non-verbal elements such as shapes, images, etc. For example, the word “MICROSOFT” as seen to the right.
“AN ILLUSTRATION DRAWING WHICH INCLUDES WORD(S),
This is the Type for a logo that includes both verbal and non-verbal elements such as shapes or images. These trademarks may, but not to have to, claim the color of the text and images. For example, the Nike swoosh logo alongside the stylized word NIKE.
“STANDARD CHARACTER MARK”
This is the modern and currently used Type term that is equivalent to “TYPESET WORD(S)/LETTER(S)/NUMBER(S).” As with that older term, this Type of trademark refers to words or phrases without any claim to font, color, or capitalization, and cannot include non-verbal elements such as shapes, images, etc.
“WORDS, LETTERS, OR NUMBERS IN A STYLIZED FORM”
This Type is similar to “STANDARD CHARACTER MARK” in that it can only include words or phrases, and not images, however it does include a claim as to the particular stylization (font) and may, but do not have to, claim color. For example, the trademark “NETFLIX” written in stylized red font.
3. The trademark must be actually registered with the trademark office in question, pending applications are not sufficient to be Brand Registered. If filing with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) the trademark registration process takes at least 6 months, and proof of U.S. sales must be provided prior to receiving your USPTO trademark registration. In other words, you cannot plan to only begin selling the goods in the U.S. after you get your Amazon Brand Registration, as you cannot receive a USPTO trademark registration without showing proof of sale in the U.S.
4. The goods listed on your USPTO trademark registration must actually match the goods that you are selling on Amazon under the brand. For example, if you are selling cell phone cases on Amazon, your trademark registration ID of goods and services must include or encompass cell phone cases. If your USPTO trademark registration is for unrelated products, you may not be eligible for Amazon Brand Registration.
5. Finally, you will need to provide to Amazon a list of countries in which your goods are manufactured and distributed, though if you’ve gotten this far, think of this as less of a requirement and more of a boon, as the purpose here is to let Amazon know where you need the most protection.
Disclaimer: Trademark Garden PLLC is in no way associated with Amazon.com Inc. or any of its officers, shareholders, subsidiaries, contractual partners, or assigns. This article is intended for informational purposes only.
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