Amazon is a one-stop shop for any new e-commerce business or individual seller. It provides an unlimited customer base, payment platforms and business terms and conditions. However, with popularity and exposure comes risk. One of the most frequent issues with selling through a platform like Amazon is intellectual property infringement. To address these issues, Amazon encourages their sellers to register trade marks to utilise the protection offered through the Amazon Brand Registry. This article explains how to use the Amazon Brand Registry to grow and protect your brand.
Benefits of a Trade Mark
Registering a trade mark is something that every business should consider. A registered trade mark gives benefits regardless of the size of business or stage they are at. The sooner you register, the better.
A trade mark is any sign that distinguishes your goods or services from others. A sign can be a name, logo or slogan, or even a shape or smell. However, the Amazon Brand Registry only accepts trade marks with a text component. So put some letters in your logo or image before you start the process.
Obtaining a trade mark will provide you with the exclusive rights to use that sign in relation to your goods or services. This also means that you can take action to stop others using a similar trade mark within the relevant industry.
What is the Amazon Brand Registry?
The Amazon Brand Registry protects sellers with registered trade marks. When a product is advertised on Amazon rather than a business’ website, it is easy to get confused as to who is selling the product. As a result, many ‘copycat’ products were mistakenly purchased, which affected the consumer, the brand owner and Amazon. To help overcome these problems, the Brand Registry was reinvented to provide enhanced protection for brand owners.
The Brand Registry is only available to those who:
- sell their own branded products on Amazon; and
- have a registered trade mark.
Enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry provides:
- control over third-party users trying to sell registered products without the owner’s consent;
- text and image search features to search for potential infringers using or abusing registered brands;
- a ‘Report a Violation’ link to offer an easy process to report infringement; and
- access to various features, including the ability to add Enhanced Brand Content (more comprehensive content) to product listings, faster approval of ads and search tools.
The Amazon Brand Registry will only accept registered trade marks that have been granted in United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Expand your Protection with Overseas Registration
Although obtaining a registered trade mark in one of the countries listed above will allow you to enrol in the Amazon Brand Registry, this may not be enough to protect your brand.
It is important to understand that a registered trade mark in any one country only protects within that country. This means that if you have an Australian registered trade mark, it does not necessarily prevent someone in the US from using your brand.
One of the perks of selling on Amazon is that you can reach customers all over the world. Therefore, if your target markets are in Australia, US and UK, you should obtain a trade mark in all those countries.
How to Apply for Overseas Trade Marks
There are two ways to apply for overseas trade marks:
- directly to each country of choice; or
- through the Madrid Protocol.
The Madrid Protocol is a treaty that allows applicants to file a single application in multiple countries if those countries are signatories to the Madrid Protocol. If you are considering registering in several countries, this is an easier and more cost-effective way to do so. All of the Brand Registry-approved countries are signatories to the Madrid Protocol except for Canada.
Once you apply for a trade mark in one country, you have six months to apply through the Madrid Protocol and still obtain the same priority date (the date that you first applied). Therefore, if you cannot afford to register in all the countries you are marketing to, you still have a period where you can apply to one country and then register in others.
Even if you are in the early stages of building a business, starting the trade mark process is important. It can take at least four to nine months, depending on which country you register in. If you are serious about building a profitable business through Amazon, a trade mark is a low cost and easy way to start protecting your brand. It also allows you to reap the benefits of the Amazon Brand Registry.
If you need help registering your trade mark and enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry, call LegalVision’s trade mark lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.
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