What is Amazon Brand Registry?
Amazon Brand Registry is a program administered by Amazon for brand owners and manufacturers that allows access to powerful tools that help build and protect brands. If you sell on Amazon, securing a trademark registration for your brand and enrolling in Brand Registry is the best way to protect your online business.
Except for Amazon IP Accelerator program participants, to enroll in Amazon Brand Registry, you must be a registered trademark owner in one of the following countries: United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, or European Union. During the enrollment process, Amazon will require the following information:
- the trademark as it appears on product or packaging;
- the trademark registration number;
- photos of products and/or packaging;
- a list of all applicable product categories; and
- a list of countries where the product is manufactured and distributed.
There is no cost to enroll in Brand Registry but you should keep in mind that there are filing costs when filing a trademark application. Cost will vary based on application type and number of goods/services listed.
Some of the benefits of Amazon Brand Registry include brand protection, search and reporting tools, and other brand building features.
- Brand Protection: Implemented protections that attempt to proactively identify and remove potentially bad listings that could harm the brand and your customers.
- Powerful search and reporting tools: Participants will have access to the Report a Violation tool that provides powerful text and image-based searching capabilities and simplifies the process of reporting potential infringement with multiple features designed specifically for brands.
- Other brand-building features: Sellers will be able to further build and grow their business with powerful tools like Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) on product detail pages, Brand Stores, Sponsored Brands, and the Brand Dashboard.
The Amazon IP Accelerator Program: What is it?
Historically, securing access to Amazon Brand Registry required a registered trademark and that meant waiting approximately 9-15 months for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to examine an application, approve an application, and issue a registration.
In October 2019, Amazon launched the Amazon IP Accelerator program. This program is designed to help brands that are not already part of Amazon’s Brand Registry gain early access to Brand Registry without having to wait for the USPTO to register its brand. Amazon facilitates its IP Accelerator program by connecting sellers with a “curated network of trusted IP law firms that provide high-quality trademark registration services to help brands secure a trademark, at competitive rates.” MAVEN® IP is a proud member of this curated network of trusted IP law firms.
When discussing Amazon Brand Registry, it is important to remember that there are two (2) related processes – (1) the USPTO process, which determines the registerability of your trademark; and (2) the IP Accelerator process, which allows brand owners early access to Brand Registry.
The IP Accelerator process is simple and straightforward. If you file a trademark application with MAVEN®, you will have early access to Brand Registry (usually within 3 weeks of filing a trademark application with the USPTO). While your trademark application is pending and active, you will have access to Brand Registry. With the USPTO taking up to nine (9) months to start reviewing applications, this early access to Brand Registry can be quite valuable.
However, in order to stay in Brand Registry, your trademark must ultimately register with the USPTO. It is the USPTO process that determines whether your trademark is registerable and Brand Registry is ultimately reserved for registered brands only.
The USPTO Process
A trademark is a word, name, phrase, logo, or even a symbol that businesses use to assign an identity to the company or distinguish a specific good or product. In essence, the trademark is the brand name of the company or for the company’s goods. The trademark application process involves several steps including:
- searching for potential names;
- selecting your trademark;
- filing a trademark application; and
- waiting for the USPTO to examine and approve your trademark.
Once a trademark application is approved, and your trademark registered, your trademark can last forever if it continues to be used in commerce and is renewed every 10 years.
How long does the USPTO process take? There are many factors that affect how long it takes to register a trademark. In fact, there’s no guarantee your trademark will ever register, as it may be refused by the USPTO for various legal reasons. Typically, however, the process takes 12 to 18 months.
Trademarks are Connected to Goods/Services. A trademark is always connected to specific goods or services sold to customers in connection with that trademark. You can’t register a word, phrase, symbol, or design as a trademark without specifically identifying the goods or services being used. Your trademark isn’t limited to one good or service. It can be used with many different goods or services and include both goods and services. The determination of whether you have goods or services can be confusing and is critical to the application process – this is one area where having counsel assist you is helpful.
Does my Trademark Application Need to List All My Goods/Services? Keep in mind that for purposes of Amazon’s Brand Registry, filing a trademark application for one good or one class of goods/services is sufficient to get your brand enrolled and once your brand is enrolled, you can sell any goods/services that you want on Amazon. However, if you want protection for your brand (on or off Amazon’s platform), then it is best to include all of the goods/services you sell, or plan to sell, in your trademark application. By being specific about the goods or services your trademark covers, you identify the scope of use and if registered, the scope of protection. You can legally prevent others from using the same or a similar trademark for related goods or services without your permission.
What IP Accelerator is Not
- The Amazon IP Accelerator program does not accelerate the USPTO’s process of reviewing and examining a trademark application or securing a trademark registration. It does not speed up the USPTO’s process. Amazon IP Accelerator accelerates your access to Amazon’s Brand Registry.
- Early access to Brand Registry through IP Accelerator does not guarantee you will stay in Brand Registry. Your trademark must be approved by the USPTO, and your trademark must register on the Principal Register in order for your brand to remain in Brand Registry.
- Enrolling in Brand Registry through the IP Accelerator Program does not mean you can immediately enforce your brand protections. Brand owners who enroll in Brand registry through the IP Accelerator Program will not be able to report counterfeits or hijackers until their trademark is registered. If you have superior rights to a trademark and want to enforce your brand, you should consider alternative forums.
With extensive experience in trademark registrations and as one of Amazon’s vetted IP Accelerator firms, we are uniquely qualified to provide you with outstanding legal representation throughout the trademark process. Please contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation.
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