We represent A LOT of ecommerce sellers, and ecommerce usually involves Amazon. Amazon recognized fairly early on that they had the power and the obligation to protect their sellers from trademark fraud in the form of counterfeit products. Additionally, Amazon also can make the selling process easier and more convenient. Amazon’s solution was the Brand Registry. The Brand Registry is now in its second generation and serves over 60,000 brands.
Currently, the Brand Registry is open only to brands with an active and valid trademark registration on the Principal Register from the USPTO (or the equivalent in other countries). This is an important distinction as it means that registrations on the Supplemental Register are excluded categorically and cannot be used for the Registry. Not allowing these marks makes sense as the Registry is designed to protect trademarks from infringement, which is much harder for marks that can only achieve Supplemental Register status. In addition, the registration owner must also be able to show that they are the owner of the rights in the mark or the authorized agent for the registration.
The first step to getting enrolled is to have a registration for the brand on the Principal Register. It is always advisable to have experienced trademark counsel assisting with obtaining a registration. An experienced attorney can mean the difference between getting a Principal registration, the ticket into the Registry, or being given a Supplemental registration, which is not the case.
Once a brand is enrolled in the Registry, the tools made available to the brand owner are truly impressive. The Registry has three main benefits: control of product listings and information on Amazon, powerful searching through numerous stores, and brand protection by allowing for the identification and removal of infringing or inaccurate content.
Ensuring consumers have the most accurate and up-to-date information about a product is crucial to its success. However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to manage the various information about a product that a consumer can come across. Through the Registry, brand owners have the power to make changes to pages selling the products to ensure that the information is accurate.
Proactive infringement management is a major element of brand protection. Amazon allows brand owners to search globally for infringing content or products sold in other stores. Should a brand owner find infringing content or products, they can submit a workflow request to Amazon for resolution. Most disputes are handled within eight hours of receipt, due partly to Amazon’s 300 employees dedicated to the Registry and its services.
The Registry also offers another tool in the fight against infringement: the Transparency program. The program is specifically designed to address counterfeiting by assigning each product a unique, secure alphanumeric code used to authenticate products. They are used to scan at fulfillment centers to ensure that only authentic products are shipped to customers. But, of course, this only works if the unique product identifier is used on every authentic product.
The benefits of Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 cannot be understated, and it has been immensely successful for large and small retailers. The good news is that if you have a brand, you too can join the Registry and start reaping its products. Start by contacting the attorneys at EmergeCounsel, who can help you procure the necessary trademark registration. Alternatively, if you already have a trademark, join the Registry and take advantage of its benefits. Contact us today to get started.