If your business sells products online, you’re probably going to want your products listed on the Amazon platform. But, unfortunately, the website’s massive reach makes it a popular place for imitation branding, from third parties.
Opportunists from across the Internet are adept at promoting imitation products to your would-be customers, potentially undermining your online presence, your sales, and, ultimately, your profit margin. Fortunately, Amazon offer a Brand Registry Program, allowing them to promote and protect your products, more carefully.
The Brand Registry Program:
- allows you greater control over how your products are presented on the Amazon website;
- provides a superior tool-kit for finding and reporting trade mark infringement from other products; and
- proactively removes content that infringes upon your product or rights.
Why the Program is in place:
Sellers on Amazon may encounter problems with their brand in two main ways:
1. The appearance of counterfeit products; and
2. Your product may be misrepresented, or changed, by third party sellers.
Both situations are destructive for many reasons. For example, unsolicited misrepresentation of your product can create market confusion and undermine consumer trust. This can damage the relationship that you have worked hard to establish with your customers. Also, the appearance of cheaper, defective imitation products can massively undercut your sales and profit margin, while allowing others to profit from your hard work and creativity.
The benefits of being in the Program:
The Amazon Brand Registry Program can help protect brands from misrepresentation, as well as counterfeit products.
- Improved Brand Representation
The Program protects against your brand being misrepresented, by allowing you greater access to websites that sell your products via Amazon and contain your product’s details. This allows you to present your brand details to your customers, in the way you intend.
- Search and report tools
The Program gives you more effective search options to help detect potential infringement of your brand. This includes:
- the ability to search for content, globally, across many different Amazon stores;
- the option to search products by ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which will greatly broaden and simplify search processes; and
- the ability to search listings by image, helping to detect logos or other trade marked elements, which may infringe upon your product or rights.
The Program offers clear guidelines on how to report potential infringements to Amazon, for review and action.
- Proactive brand protection
As well as providing you with resources to protect your brand from counterfeit products, the Registry in the Program also allows Amazon to undertake predictive protections, on your behalf. Amazon can report and remove third party product listings that use your trade mark terms in their titles; instances in which your logo is used without your permission; or sellers operating from countries from which you do not distribute or manufacture.
The more details you share with Amazon about your brand, the better equipped Amazon will be to recognise and deal with misrepresentations and infringements. These measures operate in addition to Amazon’s standard protective measures against trade mark infringement.
You are required to take three steps to benefit from the Amazon Brand Registry Program:
- Active trade mark
First, and most importantly, your brand needs to have a registered trade mark in each country that you wish the Program to be operable. Your trade marks must be either text-based or image-based with words, letters or numbers. The countries that Amazon recognises within the program is limited, but extensive.
Having a registered trade mark, as well as being necessary for Amazon Brand Registry, provides you with the exclusive right to use, licence and sell that trade mark. Therefore, it’s vital to have a registered trade mark to establish your brand’s identity and protecting your business and customers, from counterfeit products. Without a registered trade mark, you have limited recourse to enforce your trade mark rights.
To be eligible to enrol your brand in the Program, the trade mark text must be the same as the product name on the Program application. It’s important to make sure that all of the information that you provide meets Amazon’s requirements, before submitting your application.
You can find out the cost of registering your trade mark in Australia here.
- Sign into the Amazon Brand Registry
Registering your brand in the Program is as simple as signing into Amazon. If you already sell your products on Amazon, you can use your Seller Central credentials to sign in. If you don’t have an Amazon account, its free to create one.
- Enrol your brands
You’ll be required to provide the following information, when enrolling a brand in the Program:
- Your brand name that is also a registered trade mark;
- The associated trade mark number;
- The product category (for example, electronics, clothing, etc.) that your product relates to; and
- The countries in which your products are manufactured and distributed.
Keep in mind that the more detailed and comprehensive the brand details that you provide, the more effective Amazon will be in proactively searching for potential trade mark infringement.
In 2019, selling your products online is indispensable. Intellectual property security within the online market is improving. However, unfortunately, it still has a long way to go. Protecting your brand, from the outset, can save your profit margin, as well as your brand reputation. However, obtaining protection requires action, like trade marking, to make sure that you can benefit from protections that are in place, such as those provided by Amazon.
To some degree, it’s still the wild west out there, but you don’t need to face it alone.
If you would like to discuss your trade marking requirements, then you can book a free 20-minute phone consultation here.
You can also download our free eBook on trade marks here.