The Amazon.com Trademark

Amazon.com is one of the most successful e-commerce platforms of all time, boasting the title of ”the world’s largest online retailer” and over 100 million amazon prime subscribers at the time of writing. 

Amazon now offers customers a wide range of goods and services, encompassing everything from garden furniture to Geiger counters, all with super fast delivery. It seems fair to say that Jeff Bezos’ dream to launch the ”everything store” has been realized to its fullest extent. 

 The Amazon.com domain 

Amazon.com was initially registered in November 1994 by MarkMonitor Inc on behalf of Jeff Bezos. Amazon as a brand name also became a registered trademark with the united states patent and trademark office that same year as Amazon.com Warehouse books.

Without renewal, the domain is due to expire on the 30th of October 2024. 

The History Of Amazon

Today, Amazon is the biggest online retailer with over 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers and over 2.75 million Amazon sellers. But did you know Amazon had very humble beginnings out of Jeff Bezos Seattle garage?

 In 1994 Jeff Bezos took a risk in quitting his corporate wall street job, uprooting his life and moving to Seattle. 

Bezos quickly began working on a business plan and submitting trademark applications, initially registering his company under the name ”Cadabra inc” in July of 1994. However, he was persuaded to change the name, worrying that ”Cadabra” may be mistaken for ”Cadaver”, and so Amazon was born. 

When Jeff Bezos read that e-commerce was the next big industry (with growth estimated at 2,300 percent), Bezos compiled a list of 20 different products that could be easily sold online. He finally arrived at five products: compact discs, computer hardware, computer software, videos, and books. Eventually, he settled on books believing it to be the best choice due to the high availability yet the low price of books and continued worldwide demand. 

In July 1995, Amazon officially opened as an online bookseller, selling a huge variety of books to anyone with internet access. In the first two months of business, Amazon sold books to over 45 countries and all 50 states, reaching over $20,000 per week in sales. Their growth only increased when they made their initial public offering on the stock market, trading at $18 per share under the NASDAQ stock exchange. 

Soon, Amazon outgrew the garage start-up and relocated their 11 employees to their first commercial warehouse sometime in 1996. However, Bezos revealed in a 1998 interview that they ”couldn’t even plug in a hairdryer” without causing a power surge that would result in the electronics tripping off due to the amount of energy that the businesses computers would consume. 

In 1998 Amazon began selling more than just books starting with computer games and music. In that same year, Amazon’s international operations were launched beginning in Germany and the United Kingdom. Today, Amazon has warehouses in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Italy, Poland, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. Amazon sometimes provides international shipping services even where there are no fulfillment centers, though as is the case with Brazil. 

The logo is a significant Amazon trademark as, since 2000, the same design mark logo has been used to represent Amazon, with the curved arrow that leads from A-Z representing the fact that you can find anything from ”A to Z” on Amazon. 

Read more: The history of the Amazon logo

2005 was a significant year for e-commerce, with it being the year Cyber Monday launched and pushed millions of consumers into buying online for the holidays. It is perhaps a lucky coincidence that this is the same year that Amazon launched its Prime subscription service, allowing customers to access premium shipping options and other benefits. 

Ever since, Amazon has enjoyed exponential growth – helped in part by the leaps made in e-commerce and the growth of the internet. The amount of people using the internet has increased massively, and with it, online sales too. Since 1997 there has been an increase of over 18,000% in online sales. This is a huge jump – not unlike the jump in Amazon’s share price from $18 to over $3500 today!

Other Amazon Domains 

Everyone has heard of Amazon.com, but that’s not the only domain that Amazon owns. In fact, Amazon.com Inc owns hundreds of domains and trademarks, and this is in addition to absorbing several sizeable businesses and their associated domains. We’ll look at some of the most popular domains that you may not have realized come under Amazon’s corporate umbrella. 

Goodreads 

Goodreads.com is a popular book-focused website that offers a simple interface encompassing a subscription model that lets you read to your heart’s content, join book clubs and write book reviews! It was launched in 2006 by Otis and Elizabeth Chandler, but growth was slow due to a lack of formal funding. 

In 2007 GoodReads received $750,000 from Angel Investors, which is what carried the company forward to 2009 when Goodreads would receive another 2 million dollar investment – this time, from the investment firm True Ventures. 

GoodReads growth was steady until 2012, where it skyrocketed, having doubled over the course of the year and surpassing 12 million users by the end of 2012. Amazon took note of this growth and acquired GoodReads, and absorbed it into the amazon business in 2013. In this deal, Amazon paid an undisclosed amount, and GoodReads was later integrated with Kindle to streamline custom to Amazon brand owners. 

Goodreads.com was registered in December 2002 and will expire in December 2023 unless it is renewed. 

IMDB.com 

You may be surprised to hear that IMDB is also part of the corporate giants’ repertoire. IMDB is an online database related to movies, videos, TV series, and related content and information such as trivia, plot summaries, information on actors/producers, and also reviews. 

IMDB was originally a United Kingdom-based fan-operated website and was initially launched online in 1993 under the name of Cardiff Internet Movie Database as it was based at Cardiff University’s computer science lab at the time. 

In 1996 the name was changed to IMDB when it was incorporated and registered with the intellectual property office in the UK by owner Col Needham. In 1998 IMDb and associated intellectual property were acquired and absorbed into the Amazon Business family for a sizeable chunk of change – around $55 million.

IMDB.com was registered in January 1996 and will expire in January 2024 if it isn’t renewed. 

Audible.com

Audible.com was launched in 1995 and debuted the world’s first commercially available portable audio player in 1997 before going public in 1999 on NASDAQ, not unlike Amazon.

Shortly after the first Kindle was released, Amazon acquired Audible in a groundbreaking deal. 

The brand and associated intellectual property rights were acquired by Bezos company for $300 million in 2008. Audible is the world’s top seller of audiobooks and other spoken-word content, producing over 350,000 audio programs every year. 

As an Amazon account holder, when you search for a book on Amazon.com, you’re also given the option to purchase the Audible narration alongside your Kindle e-book at a reduced price, and Amazon Prime members also have access to all of Audible’s original audio series. 

Audible.com was registered in December 1996 and will expire in December 2022 if it isn’t renewed. 

Read more on trademarks and domain names

Wrapping up 

Trademark infringement is one of the most common reasons for lawsuits in the USA, but this can be avoided with the help of quality legal advice and taking steps to secure your own trademark rights first. 

Amazon has a wealth of intellectual property, including domains, under its protection. It is no stranger to trademark registration, with over 1,100 trademarks registered with the USPTO. This makes Amazon one of the single biggest trademark owners in the world. 

 

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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