Articles > eCommerce

The Amazon Brand Registry – A Legal Guide

March 3, 2021   Daniel KatzPhilip Evangelou

For years, sellers on Amazon were constantly bombarded with counterfeiting issues and intrusions by third party sellers. In response, Amazon launched their brand registry in 2017 to provide sellers with more control over their brand (and give consumers more trust). It’s worth noting that Amazon’s registry exists in addition to government regulated IP controls.

What is Amazon’s Brand Registry?

In essence, the improved service has sought to help brand owners build their brand by:

  • Improving brand story and product features with rich text and images.
  • Providing advertisements that feature logos, custom headlines and showcases products.
  • Utilising Amazon stores to promote your brand for free.
  • Having access to Amazon brand analytics in order to make informed and strategic decisions.

The Amazon Brand Registry also assists sellers in protecting their brand by:

  • Ensuring the correct management of product listings to maximise accuracy and transparency to customers.
  • Implementing automated protections to negate suspected infringing or inaccurate content.
  • Providing the ability to easily report suspected violations with simple guides.

The Amazon Brand Registry has been beneficial for over 350,000 brands. In essence, enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry increases the sellers authority and control over product listings under their brand name. Furthermore, the automated protections have been instrumental in reducing intellectual property and trademark violations. 

How Can I Get My Brand Registered on Amazon’s Brand Registry?

Prior to May 2017, a seller only needed to provide a domain name for their brand to register for the Amazon Brand Registry. However, the eligibility requirements have become stricter. In particular, the new brand registry requires that:

  • Brands have a registered and active trademark. 
  • The trademark must be registered in America, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Sweden, the European Union, or the United Arab Emirates.
  • The trademark must be that of a text-based mark or an image-based mark. The latter must include words, letters or numbers. 

The Implications of Inadequate Trademark Registration

Firstly, the need to register a trademark has added a certain level of legal complexity to the Amazon Brand Registry. In particular, seller’s trademark will need to be registered in several of the above stated countries if need be. This is in situations where a seller wishes to sell their products on the international Amazon marketplace. In fact, Amazon has made it a requirement to apply for a trademark to each international government trademark office. 

Not registering for an international trademark can lead to severe legal and financial implications. In particular, it is a criminal offence in most of the above nations to misrepresent a registered trademark. Therefore, by infringing a registered trademark, there can be lawsuits that span internationally. This could prove to be both timely and costly. 

Luckily, it is not necessary to apply for a trademark in each of the above countries separately. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) allows you to modify, renew and expand your international trademark registrations through a single centralized system. This is also known as the Madrid Protocol.

All Country-Specific TradeMark Requirements 

If you do choose to register your international trademarks separately with each country, it is important to understand the requirements. Here is a table to help:

CountryGovernment Trademark OrganisationStatus
United StatesUnited States Patent and Trademark OfficeLive registration issued and active in the principal register or live application in the principal register.
CanadaCanadian Intellectual Property OfficeTrademarks must be registered or pending
MexicoMarcos Instituto Mexicano de Propiedad IndustrialTrademark must be registered or pending
BrazilInstituto Nacional da Propriedade IndustrialTrademarks must be registered or pending registration. 
United KingdomUK Intellectual Property OfficeTrademarks must be registered.
GermanyDeutsches Patent und MarkenamtTrademark is registered or application received
FranceInstitut national de la propriété Industrielle Trademark must be registered. 
ItalyUfficio Italiano Brevetti e MarchiTrademark must be registered or pending
SpainOficina Española de Patentes y MarcasTrademark must be registered or in process
United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy Trademark DepartmentTrademark must be registered or application pending
IndiaController General of Patents Designs & Trade MarksTrade mark must be registered or pending
TurkeyTurkish Patent InstituteTrade mark must be registered or pending
SingaporeIntellectual Property Office of SingaporeTrade mark must be registered or pending
AustraliaIP AustraliaTrade mark must be registered or pending
NetherlandsBenelux Office for Intellectual PropertyTrade mark must be registered or pending
SwedenThe Swedish Patent and Registration OfficeTrademark must be registered or pending
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Authority for Intellectual PropertyTrademark must be registered or pending

It is important to note that the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Sweden fall under the European Union. With this, the European Union requires the trade mark to be registered or pending, as a word mark (text-based) or as a Figurative Mark either with or with word elements (Image-based). If you wish to gather further information, contact the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

To Sum Up

The Amazon Brand Registry definitely has its benefits. In particular, sellers are provided with a level of security that is not necessarily provided on other eCommerce platforms. However, it is important for all businesses to understand the implications of not adequately registering a trademark. To register trademarks internationally, this can either be performed separately or through WIPO.

If you need any assistance with any IP, trademark or Amazon brand registry issue, just contact our trademark lawyers on 1300 337 997, or via the form on this page.

About Daniel Katz

Daniel KatzDaniel is a legal intern at OpenLegal, placed in our legal content team. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology Sydney. Daniel's interest lies in economics and media/startup law.

About Philip Evangelou

phillipPhil is a director at OpenLegal. He has over 16 years experience working in private practice and in-house counsel in Sydney and London, giving him expertise in employment law, IP, finance, leases, dispute resolution, insurance and contracts.