If you are selling consumer goods online, chances are you are using Amazon Marketplace as one of your primary e-commerce platforms. A significant challenge faced by many sellers of popular products in this digital marketplace is the proliferation of counterfeits. If you have a thriving business, sooner or later someone will likely attempt to capitalize on your success by imitating your product or brand. To combat dishonest sellers, in 2017, Amazon introduced a free solution that is available to all brand owners.
What is Amazon Brand Registry
Amazon Brand Registry is a powerful tool that helps protect the brand of your product in the Amazon store. Amazon’s primary objective is to ensure that any customer on their platform can easily find and confidently purchase genuine goods. The purchase of counterfeit goods not only eats into the profits of brand owners but also tarnishes Amazon’s reputation and undermines consumer trust in the platform as a whole.
Benefits of registration
Registering your brand with Amazon Brand Registry offers several key advantages:
Automatic brand protection. Amazon employs sophisticated algorithms that utilize the information you provide about your brand and product to proactively identify and remove listings that infringe on your intellectual property rights. Based on Amazon’s data, the system prevents 99% of violations before a brand is able to detect them.
Access to useful statistical data. You gain access to valuable information, such as a dashboard displaying the number of times Amazon has taken preemptive actions to stop the sale of goods infringing on your rights.
Easier reporting and tracking. You can report infringements to Amazon using the “Report a Violation” feature, a tool that streamlines the process of identifying and reporting infringements while enabling you to track the status of your reports.
Amazon may lead the enforcement effort. In cases where brand infringement is confirmed, Amazon can take various actions against violators, including suspending the sale of the infringing goods, blocking user accounts, withholding funds, conducting investigations into the origin of the goods, and reporting violations to law enforcement authorities.
Requirements for using Brand Registry
To start using Brand Registry:
You must own a registered and valid trademark or a trademark registration application within the territory where Amazon offers brand protection. Currently, the system protects only trademarks registered or applied for registration in Australia, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the US.
The trademark must be either a word mark (composed of words, letters or numbers) or a figurative mark (comprising figurative elements or a combination of figurative and word elements).
For detailed information on how to register with Brand Registry, you can consult Amazon's official guide.
Brand violations and reporting
Amazon extends protection exclusively to brand owners who own registered trademarks or trademark registration applications. So, you must be the trademark owner to report an infringement. You can find further information on trademarks here.
Amazon does not publicly disclose its criteria for determining trademark infringement. However, it appears that Amazon aligns with the established international trademark law standards. Specifically, trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a sign that:
Is identical to your trademark – the sign is identical to your trademark and the goods for which the sign is used are identical to the goods for which your trademark is registered, or
Is confusingly similar to your trademark – the sign is identical or similar to your trademark and due to the identity or similarity of the goods, there is a likelihood that the relevant consumers will confuse the sign with your trademark.
Brand owners can use the “Report a Violation” button to report potential violations. After submitting a report, brand owners receive confirmation that the request is under review. Typically, Amazon evaluates the report and renders a decision on the infringement within 24 hours.
Alternative options for protection
If Amazon determines that no infringement has occurred, a brand owner can still take other measures to stop the infringement. For instance, if you own copyright related to a trademark or product design, you can submit a separate copyright infringement report to Amazon. Additionally, you can notify the infringing party of the violation of your rights by sending a cease and desist letter or pursue legal action through a competent court.
How quickly does Amazon review Brand Registry applications?
As a rule, the registration process takes up to 10 days.
Is it mandatory to use Amazon IP Accelerator to protect a trademark before it is Registered?
No, Amazon accepts trademarks that have been applied for registration without utilizing the Amazon IP Accelerator service.
Amazon Brand Registry serves as an effective tool to combat unfair competition, allowing brand owners to swiftly address trademark violations in the Amazon store. As e-commerce continues to evolve, the significance of Amazon Brand Registry and similar solutions is poised to increase in the future. Before you start selling on Amazon, it is imperative to prioritize trademark registration.