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Trademark Law Alert - Should you be concerned about the Amazon Brand Registry?

07.24.2017

By William M. Borchard

Trademark R Symbol in Hand

What is the Amazon Brand Registry?

The Amazon Brand Registry is a way for an online retailer to improve its control over unauthorized changes to the text and images shown on the Amazon product detail page for products displaying the retailer’s own trademark (or displaying the trademark of another brand owner who has given the retailer written permission to manage a product’s detail page on Amazon).  Enrollment also may facilitate Amazon’s removal of infringing or counterfeit products.

Those who enrolled before April 30, 2017 in Amazon’s prior Brand Registry need not re-enroll but are encouraged to do so if they meet the new enrollment requirements.

The New Enrollment Requirements

  • A trademark registered in standard characters on the Principal Register of the US Patent and Trademark Office
  • An image of each product or its packaging displaying the trademark
  • An image of the brand’s logo
  • A link to an active website showing each enrolled product and the trademark
  • A unique product identifier for each stock keeping unit (SKU) of an enrolled product.  The identifier may be any of the following, among others:
    • Universal Product Code (UPC)
    • European Article Number (EAN)
    • Japanese Article Number (JAN)
    • Manufacturer part number
    • Manufacturer Style Number
    •  Merchant Catalog Number
    • Model number
    • Any unique combination (such as style number and size)
  • A list of the product categories for the brand (such as apparel, sporting goods, electronics).  The following are not currently eligible for this program:
    • Books, music, videos and DVDs
    • Entertainment or sports collectibles
  • A list of the countries where the products are manufactured and distributed

Benefits

Amazon assigns a unique Global Product Identifier (GCID) which is alphanumeric and 16 characters long.  This may benefit small companies, which do not have a UPC or the like identifier, in identifying their products on the Amazon inventory reports.

Every seller of a particular product can submit edits of its listing on the Amazon product detail page.  But a seller who has a Brand Registry listing gets priority over other sellers (except for Amazon Retail and Amazon Warehouse Deals) and its updates are made almost immediately.

When seller makes an infringement or counterfeiting claim to Amazon, the seller is likely to get a quicker response because its trademark and product are already enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry program.

These benefits suggest additional reasons for obtaining standard character trademark registrations.

How to Apply

You may go to https://services.amazon.com/brand-registry.html and sign in using your regular email or mobile number and password.  Then you complete the Amazon Brand Registry application giving the information listed above.  There is no charge by Amazon.

Amazon’s approval takes about 10 business days.

Amazon’s Verification Emails

Some trademark registrants, or their representatives, have given the US Patent and Trademark Office an email address for official communications.  When Amazon has received an Amazon Brand Registry application for a trademark, Amazon.com has sent a request for verification to that email address:

We write to validate the identity of an individual seeking to enroll {  ______  } in Amazon Brand Registry. You are listed as the contact for the registered trademark for {  _______  }.

We are unable to provide you with the name of the applicant and have directed the applicant to contact you. In order to give the applicant approval to enroll {  _______  } in Amazon’s Brand Registry, provide the verification code listed below to the applicant. If you decline, do not provide the code.

Verification code: {  ______________________  }

These are followed-up by another email from Amazon.com with the subject RE: [Case ID______________] *Your Help Needed* Action Required: Request from Amazon Brand Registry stating:

This is an automated reminder that we need more information to resolve your case. If you still need assistance, please respond to this message to provide the details we’ve requested below.

If we have resolved your issue, no further action is needed on your part, we will close your case for you.

To respond to this message, please visit:

[email address]

The recipient should provide the Amazon Verification Code to the trademark registrant so that its employee or representative can complete the Amazon Brand Registry application.  Even though the same brand could be registered by different owners for different products, it seems unlikely that anyone other than the registered trademark owner for a particular product category could enroll that mark in the Amazon Brand Registry.  Nevertheless, Amazon is being properly cautious to avoid irregularities.

For further information, contact your attorney at CLL.

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