The Amazon Brand Registry – A Legal Guide
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:
|Country||Government Trademark Organisation||Status|
|United States||United States Patent and Trademark Office||Live registration issued and active in the principal register or live application in the principal register.|
|Canada||Canadian Intellectual Property Office||Trademarks must be registered or pending|
|Mexico||Marcos Instituto Mexicano de Propiedad Industrial||Trademark must be registered or pending|
|Brazil||Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial||Trademarks must be registered or pending registration.|
|United Kingdom||UK Intellectual Property Office||Trademarks must be registered.|
|Germany||Deutsches Patent und Markenamt||Trademark is registered or application received|
|France||Institut national de la propriété Industrielle||Trademark must be registered.|
|Italy||Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi||Trademark must be registered or pending|
|Spain||Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas||Trademark must be registered or in process|
|United Arab Emirates||United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy Trademark Department||Trademark must be registered or application pending|
|India||Controller General of Patents Designs & Trade Marks||Trade mark must be registered or pending|
|Turkey||Turkish Patent Institute||Trade mark must be registered or pending|
|Singapore||Intellectual Property Office of Singapore||Trade mark must be registered or pending|
|Australia||IP Australia||Trade mark must be registered or pending|
|Netherlands||Benelux Office for Intellectual Property||Trade mark must be registered or pending|
|Sweden||The Swedish Patent and Registration Office||Trademark must be registered or pending|
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property||Trademark 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.