When selling private label products on Amazon, sellers should pursue acquiring a trademark for their brand. Trademarks on Amazon can help sellers protect their brand and be notified of possible infringement. Amazon offers a proactive program for sellers who are also brand owners called Amazon Brand Registry. Amazon Brand Registry “gives you greater influence and control over your brand’s product listings on Amazon.” Many brands, large and small alike, use Amazon Brand Registry to access tools that help them find and report trademark violations and ensure their brands are accurately represented across Amazon.
But before a seller can apply to the Amazon Brand Registry, they must have a trademark for their brand. Sellers must have an active registered trademark for each country they want to enroll in. The trademark may either be a text-based mark or an image-based mark. Currently trademarks are only accepted that have been issued by government trademark offices in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Each country has specific requirements for applying for a trademark.
How to Register a Trademark in the U.S.
Applying for a trademark in the U.S. is not as easy as some services may try to make it seem. Thee are numerous legal decision that need to be made. Even the smallest errors in the application can delay the process by months.
First, you need to thoroughly search for any usages of your brand name or image-based trademark to ensure no one else is already using it. You should also search TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) to see if there are any other applications or registered trademarks already in use that are similar to the one you want to register. Any trademarks you want to register must prevent the likelihood of confusion by consumers. If a trademark is too similar to another already registered trademark, it will more than likely be refused. It may be helpful to find a trademark attorney who specializes in trademark registration to ensure you aren’t wasting time and money trying to register trademarks that will be refused.
After you’ve decided on your brand name/logo that you want to register as a trademark, you need to compile all of the information for the application. This includes:
- A legal business, or an EIN code if you haven’t registered your business as an LLC or other type of business entity
- A logo or mark to register
- A full legal name and address of the owner of the business
- Examples of how the brand name/logo is being used in commerce (this can be pictures of your product with the brand name/logo shown, your website, social media channels, or anywhere else what you’re applying to trademark is being publicly used)
- The date you first started using your brand name/logo or shared it anywhere publicly
- Which class you plan to use (or multiple classes)
Once you’ve applied with all of the pertinent information, all you can do is wait. It can take several months to hear back about your trademark application, so it’s important to be patient.
Trademarks on Amazon are not required, nor is applying to the Amazon Brand Registry. But it can be very helpful if you have products in a crowded or popular category. You don’t want to fall prey to counterfeit products masquerading as your own. Counterfeit products are usually cheaper, lower-quality versions that customers end up being unhappy with. Trademarks on Amazon and the Amazon Brand Registry allow brand owners to find these kinds of infringement and have them urgently remedied by Amazon.
Amazon Brand Registry now offers a new tracing service called Transparency that further helps protects brands and customers from counterfeit products. Brand owners already on the Amazon Brand Registry can enroll their products in Transparency. Simply apply the Transparency QR codes on your products for authenticity verification. These codes will be scanned at Amazon Fulfillment Centers to verify they are 100% genuine and not counterfeit. Customers may also use the Transparency app to validate that they’ve received authentic and genuine products.
Amazon is committed to upholding the customer experience. This includes ensuring customers aren’t tricked into buying counterfeit products. Amazon Brand Registry also allows brand owners to use Enhanced Brand Content, including uploading unique branded videos and photos. This kind of branded content will further help customers find the right products.
To enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry, you need to provide:
- Your brand name that has an active registered trademark
- The trademark number you received from the corresponding government
- A list of product categories in which you brand should be listed
- A list of countries where your brand’s products are manufactured and distributed
For private label sellers, trademarks on Amazon and the Amazon Brand Registry are vital to ensuring counterfeit products don’t end up confusing customers. Trademarks on Amazon and off Amazon offer protection from anyone trying to infringe on your registered mark, and Amazon Brand Registry offers dedicated support for brands on Amazon to get notified of possible infringement. Registering your brand and trademark may be time-consuming and cumbersome, but in the long run it will benefit you greatly.