More and more business owners and entrepreneurs are finding success through selling products on Amazon. Conversely, more and more copycats and infringers are making money off of others’ success on Amazon. This is one of the reasons why Amazon has incentivized its sellers to acquire Federal Trademark Registration of their brands, in connection with the products they sell through Amazon. Essentially, it allows Amazon to distinguish who the legitimate sellers are, in turn keeping customer satisfaction AND legitimate sellers’ satisfaction high.
If you aren’t already familiar with the way in which Amazon is incentivizing its sellers to get trademark registration of their brand, it is through the creation of their “Amazon Brand Registry” where only qualified, trademarked brands can exist. Per Amazon’s website, the benefit is that “Amazon Brand Registry gives you access to tools that enable you to more accurately represent your brand, find and report violations, and share information that can help us proactively prevent violations.” Additionally, these measures will help your registered brand appear in results before non-registered results. (More information about the benefits can be seen at https://brandservices.amazon.com/benefits).
Ok, so now that you see the benefit, what is the next step?
Step 1: Contact a Trademark attorney and get a Trademark Search/Risk Analysis done.
Although you may have been using your brand for some time, and may have even done some Google searching, or even a TESS Search with the USPTO, this DOES NOT mean your mark (brand name or logo) is eligible for Federal Trademark Registration. Hiring an attorney to conduct the search and give you a legal opinion on your likelihood of success is the first step you need to make. Considering the trademark process is about a year OR LONGER process, it’s best to know your odds before you invest more money and time into the brand.
Step 2: Strategy and Filing with the USPTO
Many Amazon sellers are distributing all kinds of different products, ranging from socks to hubcaps, and everything in between. While it can be a great strategy for profitability, it makes the Trademark registration process a bit more challenging when the products sold under a brand fall into different categories known as “International Classes.” Every International Class that is applied for on a trademark application requires an additional filing fee with the USPTO. Currently, that fee is $275 and going up soon. You can see how that can become very costly, very quickly. Consulting with an experienced trademark attorney can help you figure out the best way to maximize your protection and strategize to avoid other potential pitfalls of the trademark process.
Once your trademark application is filed with the USPTO, you generally won’t hear anything back for about 3-4 months. You will then either receive approval to go to the next phase of the process, or you will receive an initial refusal called an “Office Action.” If you do receive an Office Action, that doesn’t mean its game over and you can’t get the trademark. Sometimes it is as simple as clarifying the description of the goods on your application, and sometimes it means that you’ll need to weigh your options and decide if it makes sense to proceed.
Step 3: Applying to Amazon’s Brand Registry
Once you receive your Federal Trademark Registration you can apply to be on Amazon’s Brand Registry! This can be done with Amazon at their webpage: https://brandservices.amazon.com/eligibility. The short and sweet of it is applying and awaiting their confirmation that you are indeed a brand with a valid Federal trademark registration, signing in or creating an account with the Brand Registry, and enrolling your brand.
If you have any questions about the trademark process or the benefits of registration, please reach out to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call 813-551-2484.