After a several weeks-long closure, the Amazon Brand Registry reopened in May 2017 with several changes. The Amazon Brand Registry offers protections to private sellers who have registered trademarks. It offers such protections as predictive automation upon Amazon’s receipt of your report about trademark infringers and gives you added control over the listing of products on the site that use your registered mark. In order to sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry, you will first need to register your trademark and then follow the steps that Amazon has outlined for sellers. If you are a seller that already registered a trademark with the Amazon Brand Registry before April 30, 2017, you will also be required to re-enroll.
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New Changes for 2017 and On
Amazon now requires sellers who register their marks with the Amazon Brand Registry to have current and active registered trademarks. Eligible marks must be registered character marks, illustrations that include numbers, letters or words, stylized numbers or words or typeset numbers, words or letters. The marks must also have a text component and be registered with the USPTO or corollary federal body in the following:
- The United States – USPTO
- The U.K.
- The European Union
In order to participate in the Amazon Brand Registry, you will need to submit proof that your mark is active and registered. You will need to submit the government-registered trademark registration or serial number. You will also be required to submit images of your logo, images of the products that are covered by your mark and a list of the countries in which your products are manufactured and sold. If you have previously registered your brand, the company recommends that you reapply for the Amazon Brand Registry for every individual brand.
The new Amazon Brand Registry offers added protection to your products from counterfeiting and trademark hijacking. Some of the new features that Amazon is offering include the ability to upload your proprietary videos and photos to your product page, receiving your own Amazon URL and more. In addition, the company offers sellers who have registered their brands with the Amazon Brand Registry with new features that can help you to protect your intellectual property. You will be able to conduct image and text searches and to take advantage of predictive automation tools for suspected violations of your intellectual property rights.
Before you can register your brand with the Amazon Brand Registry, you will first need to secure a registered trademark through the United States Trademark and Patent Office. If you previously registered your brands with the Amazon Brand Registry but do not have a federally registered trademark, Amazon’s new requirements mean that you will need to go through the federal trademark registration process. While this may seem onerous, there are numerous benefits that obtaining federal trademark registration for your marks can offer. In addition to protecting your intellectual property on Amazon, federal trademark registration also offers protections in all other commercial arenas across the U.S.
The Benefits of Trademarking Your Brand
Business owners can enjoy multiple benefits by trademarking their brands. When you register your trademark, your business will be legally presumed to be its rightful owner, giving you the exclusive rights to use your mark in trade and across the country. When your mark is protected through the federal trademark registration process, you will be able to control how it is used and who can use it as well as to prevent others from using your trademark or one that is too similar to it.
When another individual or entity infringes on your trademark, you will have the right to file a lawsuit, potentially collect damages and to seek an injunction against the infringing party to prevent its continued use of your mark. Once it is registered, your trademark will also appear in searches through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. When people want to register a trademark, they first conduct searches in the USPTO’s database so that they don’t apply for marks that are too similar to those that are already registered.
With Amazon brand trademark registration, you will also receive some added benefits. Registering your trademark can help to protect your company and your customers against counterfeit goods. It can also protect you against trademark hijacking so that another entity or individual is not able to steal your mark and register it themselves. While trademarks provide national protection, they also can be used to prevent international companies that export goods to the U.S. from selling them under your trademark.
The Trademark Process
In order to register a trademark, there are four main steps that you will need to complete. It is important for you to make certain that your mark is not already registered and that it is not too similar to another registered trademark. You will need to conduct a comprehensive search of the USPTO’s trademark database. It is important for you to understand the standards that are employed by the USPTO. You will need to determine the likelihood of confusion that your mark might present to customers. This means that you need to search for marks that are very similar to your proposed mark. After this step, you will then need to file your trademark application. The application is extremely complex, and if you make mistakes on it, it may be denied. When you file your application, you will also need to pay the application fee. If your application is denied, you will not receive a refund and will have to start the process over.
After you have filed your trademark application, you will then need to monitor it on the website. This is so you can check whether or not there have been any updates in your trademark application process. In approximately four to six months, you will hear from the USPTO. There are a couple of possibilities at this point. If the assigned examiner has found no problems with your application, it will be sent through to the fourth step. If a problem was found, you will receive a notice of an office action by the USPTO. In many cases, you will be given an additional six months to correct and amend your application and resubmit it for further consideration. If the mistakes on your application were glaring, however, you may receive an outright rejection of your application.
Once your application is sent through by the examining attorney, it will then move to the publication phase before your registration will be finalized. This gives other entities that already have registered trademarks the opportunity to file objections to yours based on similarities. Many businesses aggressively prosecute their trademarks and may file objections based on minute similarities. If an objection is filed, you will need to defend your trademark. If there are no objections, or if you successfully defend your trademark, you will receive your registration. The trademark process may take anywhere from less than a year to up to 18 months.
How an Attorney Can Help
While you are not required to have an attorney to help you with the trademark registration process, most businesses that successfully register their marks do so with the help of experienced trademark lawyers. The application is very complex, and if you make errors, you will be forced to start over and pay new application fees. People who get help from trademark attorneys are up to 50 times likelier to succeed with their applications.
Trademark lawyers are able to research your proposed mark to ensure that it is not too similar to other marks and that it complies with the federal trademark law. Experienced trademark lawyers understand how to conduct in-depth searches and to thoroughly research your potential marks. They also work to stay current on changes to the intellectual property law so that your mark and your application will comply with current law. A lawyer can help you to complete your trademark application so that it is error-free. Even small errors or omissions on your trademark application can be fatal to it, making it vital that your application is mistake-free and complete. When you submit your trademark application, you will need to add a description of all of the goods or services to which your mark will apply. Your attorney can help you with the description so that your mark will provide the most protection. After submitting it for you, the lawyer may then defend your mark against objections and assist you with any office actions that might be issued.
Securing Your Trademark
Securing your registered trademark can help you to protect your intellectual property and your brand from infringers, hijackers and counterfeiters. Without protection, your brand could suffer serious damage from others, harming your company and your profits. Registering your trademark with the USPTO can offer you protection in all of the states in the U.S. and also allow you to sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry. Since Amazon has become ubiquitous in the world of commerce, gaining protection on the site from bad actors can offer you additional ways to protect yourself from others. Getting the help of an experienced trademark lawyer may make it likelier that you will succeed with your application so that you can secure the protection that you need.
When you are trying to choose a trademark lawyer for help with registering your mark, it is important for you to research the potential trademark attorneys and then to interview several of them when you have narrowed your list. You will want to find an experienced attorney who has successfully submitted numerous trademark applications for his or her other clients. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Xavier Morales today to schedule your consultation.