By: Vivek Vaidya
The retail industry has been revolutionized by online marketplaces. Amazon leads the charge, with programs like Amazon Prime making it easier to purchase products online than going to a brick-and-mortar stores.
The rise of Amazon has also caused an increase in counterfeiting, trademark infringement and the unauthorized resale of products on the platform. Third parties are selling products using the good will of others, resulting in lost sales and licensing revenue to the true owner of the brand. Previously, the only option for parties who believed their products may be victim to counterfeiting was to prove the infringement to Amazon, instead of the seller bearing the burden of proving that they are not violating the law. There has also been a growing concern with fraudulent complaints by parties who are not the true owner of a brand.
In an effort to streamline the thousands of complaints filed each day, Amazon has launched the Amazon Brand Registry. The Amazon Brand Registry allows brand owners, manufacturers, distributors, and resellers to control its content and marketing materials, including its titles, product descriptions, and product photographs. Most importantly, successful registration with the Registry establishes a brand owner’s valid ownership of a trademark with Amazon and provides an expediated process for causing Amazon to remove unauthorized sale of products bearing its trademarks. It also serves as a deterrent and a defense against fraudulent complaints.
The threshold requirement for joining the Amazon Brand Registry is trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Not only can the store name be registered as trademark with the USPTO, but so can the individual products that are being sold, along with any logos and tag lines that are used. Copyrights registered with the U.S. Copyright Office can also be included, allowing copyright owners to efficiently cause the removal of infringing photographs, videos and other content.
If you sell your goods on Amazon, registering your trademarks with the USPTO and then with the Amazon Brand Registry is extremely important in the new retail landscape, and will provide great return on your investment. The process can be complicated, but we’re here to help with the logistics of protecting your intellectual property on Amazon and beyond.
Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.