Amazon Brand Registry: A TM Protection Tool for Online Sellers

Last year, Amazon overhauled its brand registry system, enabling brand owners to take stricter control over the sale of their products. Provided the brand meets Amazon’s eligibility criteria, the program gives brand owners increased authority over listings featuring their brand names, among other (supposedly) more robust tools geared toward curtailing trademark infringement and sale of counterfeit goods.

There is a caveat, however: sellers seeking to take advantage of the program must first show ownership of a registered trademark. Moreover, Amazon currently only offers this program to owners of registered trademarks that

  1. include words, letters, or numbers, and
  2. “have been issued by government patent and trademark offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.”

These criteria limit eligibility pretty narrowly. First, only owners of registered word marks or composite marks (words and design) may enroll. This means that trademark owners whose only registrations are for pure design marks with no “literal elements” are -- at least for now -- SOL. Second, honestly, it isn’t clear to me whether “government patent and trademark offices in the United States” includes solely federal registrations issued by the USPTO, or if it includes state-issued registrations as well. If I were to guess, though, I’d assume it means federal registrations only. Fortunately, aside from these two restrictions, the requirements otherwise seem straightforward: provide your trademark registration or serial number, images of the logo, images of the products carrying the logo, a description of the applicable product categories, and the countries in which the products are manufactured and distributed. Owners of federally-registered trademarks will have already provided most of this information to the USPTO.

In any event, for Amazon sellers who meet the requirements, Amazon Brand Registry might be another valuable tool in your trademark protection tool belt. For more details on the program, check out the Amazon Brand Registry summary and FAQs.

If you have any questions about trademark protection or trademark registration, feel free to contact me!