What is Amazon Brand Registry?
Amazon launched its original Amazon Brand Registry as a way to provide brands selling their own products with more control over their items and listings. Amazon Brand Registry is very important because of the controls it brings to branded products on Amazon. Without it, sellers can miss out on sales. The platform allows Amazon sellers who sell via Amazon Seller Central to manage and add branded products on Amazon while helping minimize, or even eliminate, imitations of their products within the Marketplace.
Amazon’s Hierarchy of Brand Control
While Amazon Brand registry is designed to help increase the authority sellers have over their branded products, it’s important to remember that any seller can contribute updates to any ASIN.
That being said, Amazon uses many factors to determine who will have authoritative control of the listing content and information. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Sales history on the item
- Seller history/reputation on Amazon
- Brand Registry
Essentially, Brand Registry boosts your standings in Amazon’s hierarchy of brand control, but it does not guarantee you sole control over the listing.
Why Did Amazon Launch Amazon Brand Registry 2.0?
While the original Amazon Brand Registry went a long way toward helping registered sellers wield greater control over their products and avoid losing sales to fraudulent competitors, the platform still struggled with an ever-growing number of counterfeit products.
In response, Amazon announced a new initiative in March of 2017 to begin removing fraudulent products from the platform. As part of this effort, Amazon also launched a new Amazon Brand Registry – or as we like to call it, Amazon Brand Registry 2.0.
How is Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 different?
By enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 you unlock unique access to several powerful tools, such, as “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,” according to Amazon. While many of Amazon Brand Registry’s original benefits carry over to 2.0, there are a few key features that differentiate it from its predecessor. These are:
- Providing More Support for Registered Brands – by allowing sellers to report violations of Amazon policies
- Providing Greater Protection for Registered Brands – by offering support to sellers who file a copyright or trademark violation
- Making It Easier for Brands to ID Offenders – by letting sellers quickly search for any violations of its brand
Providing More Support for Registered Brands
Faster Response Time
One of the most frequent complaints Amazon received from sellers regarding the original Brand Registry was that complaints of fraudulent products were not addressed in a timely manner.
As part of the new Brand Registry, Amazon has put together a team of over 300 employees within the U.S. solely dedicated to dealing with claims of counterfeit and infringement. With this new manpower, Amazon has promised that all claims of fraud will be addressed within four hours.
Shifted Burden of Proof
Not only has Amazon become more reactive to claims of infringement, but it has also switched the burden of proof from the registered seller to the seller in question. The accused seller is now responsible for explaining themselves – without the complainant ever having to do a test purchase in order to file a report.
While this is great for protecting brand owners, you might be asking yourself, “what keeps sellers from abusing this newfound power?” Well, Amazon has put a few checks in place to ensure sellers are using the system properly. These include:
- Sellers have to include an intellectual property information file with their ASIN, email, name, alleged right, etc. when filing a claim against another seller.
- At the time the complaint is made, the seller has to make a statement confirming that he/she has the right to act on behalf of the afflicted brand.
Providing Greater Protection for Registered Brands
In addition to making it easier for brands to report abuses, Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 has made it even faster to identify suspect sellers. With Brand Protection, sellers can now report the display names of fraudulent sellers, the nature of their listing, when the product was launched and its price. Under this same protection, brand owners are now authorized to ask for legally identifiable information in regards to issues of trademark and counterfeit.
Making It Easier for Brands to ID Offenders
Probably the biggest difference between the original Amazon Brand Registry and its successor is the ability to “Report a Violation.” This simple, yet invaluable, feature is a search tool brands can use to identify any infringements on their products.
Similar to Google’s search tool, “Report a Violation” lets you search Amazon listings by keyword, text and images. If a brand does locate an offending party, it can quickly take action through Amazon Brand Registry 2.0’s more streamlined reporting methods.
It is important to note that Amazon’s “Report a Violation” tool only applies to trademark copyright infringements and not to any violations regarding patents. These complaints should still be taken up with Amazon through the platform’s original infringement link.
Tips and Tricks for Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 Registration
If you are already enrolled in the original Amazon Brand Registry it is very important that you understand you will not be automatically enrolled in the new system. Currently enrolled and first-time registry sellers can register for 2.0 by providing their brand’s registered trademark (pending trademarks are not valid) and the products associated serial number.
Please note, when you are filling out your registry application, the trademark spelling, capitalization and use of spaces must match exactly to the information on uspto.gov. If there is a discrepancy between the government data and the application you provide, you may be rejected from the new Amazon Brand Registry.
Registering for Amazon Brand Registry 2.0
You can avoid unnecessary rejection from the Brand Registry and protect your brand sooner by carefully following the registration criteria. This includes:
- Provide a brand name that has a live registered trademark.
- As mentioned above, carefully key in your trademark details exactly as they appear on the uspto.gov database.
- Confirm that you have entered the proper contact information for the brand’s legal representative or holder.
- Include a list of product categories in which the brand should be listed.
- List the countries where your brand’s products are manufactured and distributed.
- At the time of registration, you must include any images you’ll be using for your brand’s packaging or logo (no stickers accepted).
- After completing your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email. You must open and follow the instructions in this email to finalize your registration.
- Amazon will only accept your application into the new Amazon Brand Registry once all your information has been approved and you have verified your confirmation code.
Potential Cons of the New Amazon Brand Registry
- Brands are now required to have a registered trademark before applying. For brands that do not have existing trademarks, this can take up additional time and money.
- Brands that were a part of the original Amazon Brand Registry are required to re-enroll.
- For new products, it might not make sense to go through the effort of acquiring a trademark until you know your product is selling well.
Acquiring a Trademark
For sellers who would like to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry 2.0, but do not have a trademark, this update can seem like a huge barrier to entry. But really, acquiring a trademark is a fairly simple concept and, in reality, is easier to get than many people think.
If you are a brand that has been selling your product for quite some time and know that your product is successful among Amazon consumers, it probably makes sense for you to get a trademark and enroll in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0.
Amazon’s trademark eligibility requirements vary by country. Within the United States, a brand’s trademark must meet the following criteria to qualify for Brand Registry:
- Trademark must have a live registration issued and active in the USPTO principal register
- Valid text-based marks include: 1 - Typeset Word(s)/ Letter(s)/ Number(s); 4 - Standard Character Mark
- Valid image-based marks include: 3 - An Illustration Drawing which includes Word(s)/Letter(s)/ Number(s); 5 - Words, Letters, or Numbers in a Stylized Form
To register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you’ll need:
- To be a legal business. If you are just launching your company and haven’t registered yet as an LLC, you can register as an individual using your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- The full name and address of the company’s owner
- A logomark
- A picture of your product to show how you are applying your logomark
- The date your logomark was first used or shared
- Which International Class you wish to use
If you have all this information at the time you go to apply for your trademark, you can complete the entire process in as little as 10 minutes. Do note that while the registration process itself is rather quick, it takes an average of 6-9 months before the trademark is fully approved and eligible for Brand Registry.
Things to Consider Before Filing a Trademark
Think about how simple it will be to trademark your brand. If you are just starting to sell a new branded product, this is an important consideration. Some guidelines to keep in mind are:
- Try to steer away from names that are tough to trademark. Names that are too generic, too descriptive or include geographic places probably won’t get through trademark.
- Make sure you are completely satisfied with your logo before you submit your trademark. We recommend working with a professional design company when putting together your logo, packaging and other branding elements.
- When completing your application, use as much detail as you can. If for any reason you think your trademark might not be approved for registration, consider choosing another brand name.
Carryover from Amazon Brand Registry 1.0
While the above updates have resulted in serious changes and improvements from the original Amazon Brand Registry, there are certain aspects of the initial registry that still hold true.
The Amazon Brand Registry program is still closed to sellers in particular categories. These include sellers of books, music, videos and DVD’s (as known as the “BMVD” category), as well as those that sell sport and entertainment collectibles.
Those who are eligible to register include:
- Manufacturers who want to sell their own branded product
- Sellers who private label their own branded product
- Distributors, resellers or individuals with authorization from the brand owner
In addition, many benefits of the original Amazon Brand Registry still apply. These include:
- Enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry gives you full listing control of your product under your brand. This does NOT prevent others from being able to sell your product in Amazon, but it does register YOU as the brand owner and gives you an upper hand in getting your cases resolved satisfactorily should you find that items intended to be knockoffs or counterfeits of your brand are being sold on Amazon.
- You get access to Amazon Stores, Headline Search Ads and Enhanced Brand Content.
- Often times sellers don’t see the changes they thought they made reflected in their listings (such as why a product description or photo upload hasn’t shown up yet) and it may be due to their product not being enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry.
- Sometimes it helps in getting your product approved for a particular category.
- Generally, it gives you more leverage in some areas.
For more information on Amazon Brand Registry or any other information related to the world of selling on Amazon, call us at (800) 238-1811.