Amazon’s presence in the Australian market may have a disruptive effect on large retailers. However, your business may benefit using Amazon as a channel to reach a wider customer base. If your business does plan to use the online platform to bring your products to market, you should know how to protect your business on Amazon. This article explains the avenues your business can consider for brand protection with Amazon.
Branding and Trade Marks
A business’ brand is often mistaken to be only the logo or business name. In fact, a brand actually represents the business as a whole. Your branding helps to distinguish your business from other businesses, even if they sell a similar product to yours. This means that your business brand can be the accumulation of a range of signs that allow customers to identify it. This can include your business’ logo and name, but it may also include the colour scheme, slogans or design aesthetic.
Some aspects of your business’ brand, like a trade mark, can be registered with IP Australia. Registration of these trade marks gives you exclusive use of the mark. Registration also prevents other businesses or competitors from using your trade mark. It provides your business with a cause of action for infringement. You may still use your business’ trade mark if it is unregistered. However, you should consider registering your business’ trade mark if your brand identity is important to you.
The Importance of Brand Protection
The brand, goodwill and reputation of your business are key to its success. They are also assets that need protection. Without registered IP rights, you run the risk of another business listing with Amazon using the same name as your business. If they sell a similar product, but that product is a lower quality than your product, your reputation could be impacted. Customers could be unwilling to purchase products from you again, particularly with the use of seller and product reviews.
Protecting Your Business on Amazon with the Amazon Brand Registry
The Amazon Brand Registry allows you to protect your business on Amazon. The Registry allows customers to gain trust in businesses that place their products for sale on Amazon. If you upload your business’ trade mark onto the Registry, your business will obtain more protection on Amazon. Amazon has used automated tools to reduce IP rights violations.
The process for responding to IP infringements is manual if your business has a registered trade mark, but is not on the Registry. You must lodge a ‘report infringement form’.
The process to protect your business on Amazon is different process if you want your products to be available internationally. Each Amazon marketplace will require trade mark registration in the individual country where it operates. As a result, there may be additional costs for Australian businesses. If you have an Australian business, you will need to register your business’ trade marks in the various countries where you wish to have your products available. This is the only way to use the Registry to protect your brand on the Amazon marketplace internationally.
If you wish to use Amazon as a channel for distribution for your business’ products, it is worthwhile to research the trade mark registration processes in other countries. You may then determine a strategy for protecting your brand early on. For example, if you foresee expansion in the near future, it may be worthwhile to consider trade mark registration in the United States and any other countries where you wish to sell your product. A trade mark application is a lengthy process. Your business may be paying more for the trade marks if they are separate applications.
How the Amazon Brand Registry Protects Your Business
Your business can use the Registry to protect itself from counterfeit products being sold on Amazon. The Registry also allows you to undertake text and image searches and produces automated predictions of suspected IP rights violations on the basis of your reports. This allows Amazon retailers to have more control of their overall image and representation on the platform.
Amazon is a major online marketplace for many Australian retail businesses. The use of the Registry allows you to protect your business on Amazon. In particular, it allows you to protect your registered trade marks. Prior to launching your goods on Amazon, consider a brand protection strategy and consider whether you should register your trade mark in Australia and internationally.
If you have any questions about the Amazon Brand Registry or how you can protect your brand, get in touch with LegalVision’s intellectual property lawyers today by calling 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.
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