Qualifying for and Benefitting from Amazon’s Brand Protection Program

Photo by Anna Shvets/Pexels

As your e-commerce company grows, it’s likely that you’ll experience copycats. Despite the money and efforts you spent on marketing, customer relations, and manufacturing a high quality product, that work can be swept away when an infringer disguises themselves under your company name and logo, stealing all your customers away. Even a seemingly innocent copycat can hurt your bottom line.

If you sell on Amazon, your company may be eligible to enlist in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program.

The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that enables vetted brand owners to register their brands with the platform and access Amazon’s infringement-finding artificial intelligence and enhanced reporting tools. Amazon maintains that enrolled brands report an average 99% reduction infringement activities since its launch in 2017.[1] Amazon also claims to have prevented 2.5 million bad actors from publishing false listings on its platform.[2] Now that’s a tool you could use!

Signing up for the Brand Registry Program is quick, easy, and useful — all it takes is an entry form and a registered trademark. Need to register your brand’s trademarks? Our team of Brand Registry Revelers at Rockridge® can help!

Before we jump into the details of how you do it, let us tell you why you should.

Consistency and Accuracy

You may have a lot of product pages. And when details about your business and products change, it can be tremendously frustrating to edit that amount of information and go through those many product pages. The Amazon Brand Registry gives registrants more controls over their product pages so that you’re better enabled to associate your brand and products with correct information.

Gadgets and Gizmos

You don’t have to be a tech wizard (and we have one in-house, should you ever find the need for one) to access and utilize Amazon’s powerful search and reporting tools. Here are some cool features you can look forward to:

- A global search tool that enables you to look for pesky infringers without ever opening a second tab;

- An image search that can detect listings on Amazon that look similar to your logos and products; and

- An Amazon Standard Id Number (ASIN) search that allows you to check out and report infringing products fast.

But you don’t have to do all the heavy-lifting. Amazon will block suspicious activities, such as:

- Product listings that use your brand in its titles;

- Product images that contain your logo;

- Sellers shipping products from countries that do not manufacture or distribute your brand; and

- New product listings created under your brand name, when you have listed your full product catalog on Amazon.

Amazon’s AI makes it super easy to find copycats — and then report them. Amazon’s 24/7 team will review the report and then take action! Our clients have experienced an average 1 hour wait time between reporting and that reported page being taken down.[3] That’s fast!

More Amazon Features

Amazon Brand registrants can also access other cool perks to help them build and grow their business. Check out the Brand Dashboard, Enhanced Brand Content, Stores, and Sponsored Brands.

Step 1: Have a Registered (or Pending) Trademark

Trademark is legalese for the name or logo your business is using to sell products and gain consumer awareness.

While vendors do not currently have to pay anything to sign on to the Amazon Brand Registry, you may have to pay federal or attorneys’ fees to acquire a few trademarks. If you want to know more about the process of getting a federal trademark, check out this video: E-Commerce Law 101.

It takes around 6–9 months on average to get a registered trademark. If you’re in a rush, you can sign up for Amazon’s waitlist with your pending trademark serial number, and they may decide to let you in before your trademark is officially registered.

Step 2: Have the Right Kind of Trademark

Amazon’s Brand Registry program is limited to word marks and logos that have words or numbers in them. If you’re a trademark law guru, you’ll know that sounds, scents and video clips can also serve as trademarks, but Amazon won’t allow Chanel №5 to register its perfume scent on its registry. Sadly, if your logo is an image without letters, numbers, or words, you can’t register it with Amazon just yet.

Step 3: Be in the Right Place

Many countries have their own trademark registries. If you’re selling in the United States, you’ll want to seek brand protection through the USPTO. If you’re selling in the EU, look to the EUIPO. If you’re selling products in multiple countries, you must have registered trademarks in each place you want to enroll in through Amazon. Amazon only accepts trademarks that have been issued by certain countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

You can check for list updates here.

Step 4. Mark the Product

This one is simple: make sure that your registered trademark is featured on your products’ packaging or the products themselves.

Step 5: Keep it Active

Registered trademarks can live forever, but they must be maintained. Each country has its own maintenance requirements, but in the U.S., trademark holders are required to pay a maintenance fee sometime between the fifth and sixth years after registration. After the initial maintenance filing and payment, the maintenance period extends to every ten years. Brand owners who allow their registered trademarks to become “dead” or “abandoned” can be rejected from the Amazon Brand Registry until those trademarks are reinstated.

If you’re a brand owner that qualifies for the Brand Registry, I highly recommend that you sign up for it and utilize its tools. Amazon is giving you the opportunity to control your product listings, enforce your intellectual property rights, and access additional marketing tools.

Use it to your advantage, but don’t abuse the opportunity. Make sure any claims you submit are legitimate, or you may find your access to those tools revoked, or worse, your account suspended.

[1] https://brandservices.amazon.com/

[2] https://brandservices.amazon.com/

[3] Amazon investigates and takes action on more than 95% of all notices of potential infringement received from brands in Brand Registry within eight hours.

About Lauren Hughes

Lauren Hughes is the privacy and branding lead at Rockridge Venture Law®. Equally adept at creative campaigns as well as technology transactions, Lauren leads clients through copyright, privacy, regulatory, and trademark considerations in optimizing successful e-commerce portfolios. She is a leading voice among women practicing in technology and tech law. Her primary practice areas include copyright and trademark law, data privacy, sports and entertainment law, and technology transactions. Lauren also leads the Knoxville Technology Council’s Women in Tech Committee, and is a Director of the Tennessee Women’s Theater Project. Read more about Lauren, connect with her, and Calendly her.

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About RVL®

Rockridge Venture Law®, or RVL®, was launched in 2017 to become the preeminent intellectual property and technology firm across the Appalachian Innovation Corridor. We have offices in Chattanooga, Durham, and Nashville, and represent clients and interests globally. Our services include all aspects of intellectual property, litigation, M&A, privacy, technology transactions, and ventures.

In 2018 and 2019, we were recognized as B Corp Best for the World for our commitment to triple bottom line business practices. RVL® is also certified by 1% for the Planet for its nonprofit partnerships advancing stewardship and sustainability. RVL’s nonprofit partners in 2020 include Green|Spaces, Living Lands and Waters, Mustard Seed Ranch, and the NC State Lulu Games Social and Environmental Impact Competition.

Our pioneering environmental and social impact programs attract top-notch legal talent and assure our clients of missional Rockridge Venture Law alignment with their corporate values. Rockridge uniquely addresses two modern profit drivers: innovation (uptake and development), and corporate social responsibility. We’re Building Today’s Company for Tomorrow’s Economy® by leading clients through the dizzying array of information controls, by helping them to develop and monetize proprietary assets, and by enabling their impactful products, programs, and principles.

Learn about global impact and innovation leaders at Rockridge I-Suite®.

See case studies on how we’ve helped transformative companies at Rockridge Portfolio.

Please note that this guide is for informational and advertisement purposes only. The use of this guide does not constitute an attorney client relationship. As laws frequently change and may be interpreted differently, RVL® does not in any way guarantee the accuracy or applicability of this information.

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