The Amazon Brand Registry
As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, particularly during the ongoing pandemic as many of us avoid in-person shopping trips, consumers may have noticed several “copycats” or “dupes” for well-known brands appearing on sites like Amazon. While these cheaper (both in price and generally in quality) products may entice consumers looking to save a few dollars, businesses, particularly small businesses, are being hit hard by copycats. In an effort to address the issue, Amazon established two options for IP rights owners to combat infringement of their IP: the Amazon Brand Registry and the Neutral Patent Evaluation Procedure. This article will focus on the Amazon Brand Registry, and a follow-up article will discuss the Neutral Patent Evaluation Procedure.
The Amazon Brand Registry “provides access to powerful tools including proprietary text and image search, predictive automation based on your reports of suspected intellectual property rights violations, and increased authority over product listings with your brand name.”[i] It's important to note that the Amazon Brand Registry is only available to owners of registered or pending trademarks in specific countries (including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, much of Europe, Australia, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE). In other words, if you don't already have a registered trademark with the ® indicator, you must have a trademark application on file and be in the process of obtaining the “®” indicator, not just the “™” indicator.
As discussed in previous articles, trademarks are words, phrases, symbols, designs, or some combination thereof that identify and associate a good with the particular source of that good. To become a registered trademark, the mark must be used in commerce; for example, in advertising, on product packaging, etc. In addition, registered marks must demonstrate distinctiveness; in other words, a generic word cannot be trademarked for the corresponding good. For example, Apple® can be, and is, trademarked for use by the technology company, but the word “apple” could not be trademarked as the name of the fruit.
How We Can Help
Registering a trademark can be a complex procedure, particularly if the relevant Intellectual Property Office (for example, the USPTO) issues a rejection citing similar registered marks or takes issue with the distinctiveness of your mark. The IP professionals at Gallium Law are experienced with trademark registration applications, including complex cases with multiple rejections. We are excited to assist you in this first step toward protecting your brand. Once you secure a registered (or pending) trademark, we can help you enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry and begin protecting your brand from trademark infringement by copycat sellers.
Obtaining a registered trademark can involve a substantial investment of both time and resources. The best way to protect your investment is to enforce your IP rights and ensure that others will not profit from your brand. The professionals at Gallium Law stand ready to assist you at every step of the way, including the Amazon-specific avenues discussed above. Please call us at 651-256-9480 or fill out this Contact Form to speak with us soon.
*The information provided in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is meant as a starting point in your search for answers to your legal questions.