Regardless of whether Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world or a close second place, it is indisputable that the web-based products and services offered by Amazon are integrated into just about every part of our daily lives. Although self-driving cars and drone-delivered goods are a bit off, Amazon’s buying and selling platform is here to stay. Recently, however, Amazon changed its ‘Brand Registry’ requirements, which has caused a great amount of confusion to a number of our new and existing Clients.
Benefits of Brand Registry
If you manufacture and sell your own ‘brand’ and want to be a successful seller on Amazon, the Brandy Registry program is of paramount consideration. Among other things, this program helps protect your brand (on Amazon), and creates an accurate and trusted experience for buyers. Brand Registry also gives more product listing control, and allows an owner to influence product detail pages and list products without UPCs or EANs.
The Amazon website states that by enrolling in the Brand Registry program, a seller will gain access to “powerful tools including proprietary text and image search, predictive automation based on your reports of suspected intellectual property rights violations, and increased authority over product listings with your brand name.”
Changes to Brand Registry Terms
Amazon changed its terms in May of 2017, whereby new enrollees are now required to provide specific trademark information in the form of:
- Brand name that has a live/active registered trademark.
- Government Registered Principal Trademark Registration or Serial Number --- For USPTO marks, the Mark Drawing Type must be equal to “4 - STANDARD CHARACTER MARK” or “1 - TYPESET WORD(S)/LETTER(S)/NUMBER(S)”
This first means that to be enrolled in the Brand Registry program, a seller must have its trademark registered with the USPTO. And by registered, this means the application process for a registration has completed, resulting in issuance of an official registration certificate. A ‘pending’ application does not suffice.
Second, a trademark that is stylized or in the form of a logo (i.e., has some kind of design element) will not qualify. Instead, the registered mark must be in standard, non-stylized form, such as “RAO DEBOER OSTERRIEDER”. This can be problematic to the unknowing applicant that tries to file for a standard character mark by using a drawing (or specimen) that is stylized or in logo form (i.e., your application is on its way to a fatal rejection).
Third, the registration must be on the principal register. The USPTO offers registration on either a principal register or a supplemental register. Registration on the supplemental register will not suffice.
If you apply to the Brand Registry without a registration, if you have a registration of a mark that is in stylized or design form, or if you have registered on the supplemental register, you are likely to receive a denial.
If you are a seller on Amazon, the Brand Registry program provides a number of benefits intended to protect a seller’s intellectual property, especially as it pertains to trademark law. But in order to enroll, there are new requirements that require strict compliance.
If you have concerns about whether your trademark (or related registration) is acceptable for enrollment, Rao DeBoer Osterrieder can help you navigate your path forward into the Brand Registry program. Contact us for any questions you might have.
We look forward to speaking with you!
© 2017 John DeBoer
John DeBoer is a registered patent attorney, and admitted with the Texas State Bar. He is a Partner with Rao DeBoer Osterrieder, a law firm in Houston, Texas specializing in intellectual property law. You can contact John directly via Email.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rao DeBoer Osterrieder, PLLC, or any of its clients. All rights reserved.
 There are additional requirements that can be viewed at: https://services.amazon.com/brand-registry.html