Every day more and more Amazon sellers join Amazon Brand Registry. All Amazon brand owners must register and trademark their brands. While trademarking can be a bit of work, smart sellers know the juice is worth the squeeze. In addition to the excellent brand ownership tools, sellers who use Amazon's Brand Registry also enjoy greater brand loyalty from customers.
In this article, you will learn how to join the Amazon Brand Registry, and how to register a trademark for Amazon.
1. How Do I Register a Trademark for Amazon?
Amazon recognizes two main trademark offices for members of its registry:
For US-Based Sellers
The USPTO provides many free resources for entrepreneurs. If you live in the United States, you do not need an attorney to trademark your brand.
Sellers who do not live in the US and seek US-based trademark protections will need an attorney. Regardless of where you live, having an attorney can be an asset. A lawyer can guide you through the process and assist you in preparing your application correctly.
The USPTO also enables you to create an online account to submit electronic applications. The online application is known as the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You need to be aware of two things: the fees and the Trademark ID code.
Fees for applying through TEAS include the following:
- TEAS Plus - $250 per class of goods/services. An attorney must submit this application. TEAS Plus is the preferred option because legal expertise can save you money in the long run.
- TEAS Standard - $350 per class of goods/services. You do not need an attorney for a standard application.
You can find your product class using the Trademark ID Manual. If you cannot find the proper category for what you sell, you will need to go through TEAS standard application. USPTO has a simple search engine you can find on its site.
As a brand owner, you are allowed to utilize your trademark without registering it. When registering your trademark, you will need to provide evidence of your use as a trademark owner (on the product or packaging).
So before you apply, be sure you have evidence of yourself using the branding.
For EU-Based Sellers
Much like the USPTO, the EUIPO offers multiple options for registering on its website:
- The Easy Filing Form - This form is for individuals who do not have expert legal representation
- The Five-Step Form - This is for intellectual property experts with straightforward needs
- The Advanced Form - This is for IP experts with complex needs
For most Amazon sellers, the Easy Filing Form should be sufficient. However, if your brand is associated with unique shapes or sound marks, you must contact legal representation.
The "easy" form is for those registering word-based trademarks.
The EU is picky on its description of what a trademark is. There are three primary categories:
- An Individual Mark is unique and easily distinguishes your brand from competitors
- Collective Marks indicate goods from an association (usually a mark of quality)
- Certification Marks add an extra level of quality if your products require certification.
Most sellers will will select an individual trademark, which costs € 850. You can complete an online application on the EUIPO site. Additional costs of € 50 per product class can occur if you sell additional products and services.
The EU also won't allow you to register a trademark that describes current goods and services. For example, the EU might deny your application if you include the word "shoes" in your brand name, as multiple brands sell shoes.
If your product has any foreseeable complications when going through trademark registration, you will need legal advice. You can also contact the EUIPO information center.
For Everyone Else (WIPO)
Much of the advice above is applicable to multiple countries. However, if you want to apply for trademarks in other countries or global trademarks, you'll need to know each country's local requirements.
The most efficient form of global trademarking is through the Madrid system. The Madrid System is controlled worldwide via World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). You can submit an IP application to 125 countries using the Madrid System.
The Madrid fee calculator will enable you to get a reasonable estimate of how much your trademark will cost in your local currency. You'll find that the more countries you want to do business in, the higher the cost.
Regardless of where you sell your goods and services, check out TM View to see if your trademark (or a similar one) already exists. If you have an identical brand in the same goods category as you, you'll need legal representation.
How Do I Get A Trademark for Amazon Using The Amazon IP Accelerator?
The Amazon IP Accelerator is a pre-existing list of legal firms that Amazon trusts. Clicking the "get started" link will provide you with a list of more than ten legal offices you can contact.
The majority of copyright legal teams on this list are in the US. However, you can narrow your target down based on where you want to sell and your location.
Amazon's Service Provider Network is very helpful for those who want to be global sellers but are on a budget. If you are a new seller, stick to selling locally to avoid the complications of shipping products overseas. You can always grow your customer base later on.
2. Enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry
Once you establish your trademark or have a pending application, you can begin the process of enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry.
- Your name
- A good email address
- A good physical address
- A bank account that you can deposit (and withdraw) money from
- A current picture ID (i.e., driver's license, passport)
- A working webcam and microphone
Amazon will send a postcard with a code to confirm your physical address. You will also need to copy your latest bank statement and ensure your ID matches your physical address.
Even as a brand owner, you do not need to confirm your business status. This means you can use either a SSN (social security number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number) to prove your business or personal status.
Once you create your Seller Central account, you will need the following information for the registry:
- Images showing your brand name in current use on existing products and packages
- You need to have an active or awaiting trademark in each country you wish to do business
- You can also have a pending application through the Amazon IP Accelerator
- Your brand needs to either be text-based or image-based with identifiable words, letters, or numbers.
- You need to have an application number from the registration process of your respective trademark office.
- You need to have a list of product categories associated with your goods list on the trademark application.
If you are selling on behalf of the trademark owner, know that Amazon will need confirmation from the owner directly before selling under your Amazon account. Amazon will send a confirmation code directly to the owner using publically available information.
Before submitting your Brand Registry application, ensure that the trademark owner's address, email, and phone number are up-to-date.
At the time of writing this, Amazon only accepts brands from the following countries:
- United States
- European Union
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- The United Arab Emirates
Any countries not listed do not currently (2021) qualify for the registry. However, this doesn't mean you should not register a trademark on your brand.
3. Do You Need A Trademark For the Amazon Brand Registry?
Even if you plan on exclusively selling your product on Amazon, you will be required to have a trademark for any brands you sell. This action puts all legal requirements in your control, ensuring Amazon is not liable for what you sell.
However, you do not need an active trademark, only a pending trademark application. Because many trademark offices can take anywhere from six months to a year to respond, Amazon offers some leeway.
If your application is denied, you will lose your brand classification. You will then need to resubmit your application.
To avoid this, you can use legal representation. A copyright lawyer can act on your behalf to address any legal trademark issues that arise
4. Can I Sell My Own Brand on Amazon?
If you already have an existing brand (trademark) away from Amazon, you are allowed to start selling it on Amazon. You need to provide your registration number.
You can find this number on your application data. If you have an account with your respective trademark office (WIPO, USPTO, EUIPO, etc.), you can find it online as well.
Amazon does not discourage sellers who use other eCommerce marketplaces to sell on its platform. However, Amazon does seek to have the best available price compared to its competitors.
If you sell on Amazon, Walmart, and other platforms, it is crucial to implement competitive pricing, but also at the same rate on all platforms in which you sell. Otherwise, the competing platform might cause you to have a price war against yourself.
5. What are the Benefits of Trademark Registration?
Besides receiving extended seller protection as a member of the Amazon Brand Registry, there are also benefits to trademark registration as a whole. So even if your country doesn't work with the Amazon Brand Registry, below is a list of benefits regarding trademark registration.
It Provides You With Enhanced Trademark Protection
Looking at major brands like Disney and Nintendo will tell you a lot about protecting your intellectual property. These IP cases might be the extremes, but they teach you how third-party sellers can hijack your success.
With a federally recognized trademark, you have legal recourse to send cease and desist letters. While it can be more complex if those copying your brand are doing so in another country, you can still win legal compensation when you have government recognition.
It Establishes A Regularly Occurring Asset You Use
Provided your creation is unique enough, you can trademark a combination of images, text, fragrances, colors, building layouts, and even sounds. By establishing a regular trademark, you can use them across multiple platforms.
This can be important when establishing competitive advantages. A great example includes USAA suing Wells Fargo for infringing upon mobile deposit technology.
If you develop a highly-successful product or process, your trademark allows you to maintain control. That way, if someone wants to sell your product, they have to pay you to do so!
Even if you don't manufacture the product as a private label seller, you have a right to trademark its use on your selected goods category.
It Allows You To Establish Long-Term Loyalty
The Nike symbol is synonymous with the well-known shoe brand. The "swish" no longer needs to have the company name beside it, as it is automatically recognizable.
You can say the same about many well-known brands like Apple, Android, and McDonald's. Prospective buyers are very visual when selecting a brand.
Of course, early on you cannot expect this kind of brand recognition. But with trademarks, you can establish a simple image to the trademark in your target goods. Everyone starts somewhere.
This is a long-term strategy that over time will begin to establish regular visual recognition. This long-term recognition focus is a great way to retain customers.
6. The Importance of Trademarking
You become a brand owner the moment you start using a recognizable image or text. The more you use it on your products and packaging, the more this trademark becomes valuable.
While you aren't required to establish a trademark to use it, you are required when selling products on Amazon. Much of this comes from the need for brand protection, giving you a legal shield if someone tries to capitalize on your product success.
As a brand owner on Amazon, nobody else can own your buy box. It's also a great way to protect yourself against unwanted competitors on your product listing. By establishing yourself on and off of Amazon, you will gain excellent protection and great long-term potential.
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