Finding the Fast-Track to the Amazon Brand Registry
Tips from TRADEMARK ANGEL
What every Amazon seller (current and prospective!)
needs to know to make the most of their online brand
[Important! If you’re reading this and thinking, “I’m already registered on Amazon,” please note that Amazon Brand Registry 1.0 Holders (the first iteration) will be phased out in the near future to make room for the introduction of Amazon’s new Brand Registry 2.0. This means that some (if not all) of your trademarks might need to be re-registered!]
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Amazon’s Brand Registry, it allows Amazon sellers (with registered trademarks) two distinct benefits while working under the company’s online umbrella: brand protection and brand support. This brand protection gives you the power to legally identity counterfeit or deceptive sellers that are encroaching upon your trademark(s), and brand support means that your inquiries and filings are completed with minimal effort on your (the brand owner’s) end, all while doing service in Amazon’s online marketplace.
To be eligible for these benefits, of course, you need to have a registered trademark (either a standard character mark or a logo with words). But many new owners (and first-time trademark registrants) are surprised to learn that getting a trademark successfully registered can take a substantial amount of time! For example:
- Canada’s trademark registration process takes an average of twenty months
- The US’s trademark process takes roughly eight to nine months
- The Australia’s process takes about six to seven months
- The EU and UK’s process takes only three to four months
So, our first tip of finding the fast-track to Amazon’s Brand Registry is to consider filing in a foreign country (like the UK or EU) to ensure the fastest return on your investment and getting into Amazon Brand Registry.
If you’re a US seller, you’ll still need to file in the US to receive full trademark protection. But for the purposes of getting into Amazon Brand Registry, it benefits you and your business to consider filing in the UK or the EU. Think about the lack of protection you would experience waiting twenty months on a trademark registration process!
We at Trademark Angel have come up with a few more ways to speed up the trademark registration process and get you on the Amazon Brand Registry more quickly:
- One of the most common issues with new and prospective trademark owners is foregoing a trademark search, even a basic one, that ensures you’ll be safe from Trademark Office objections (which delay the processing of your trademark!). Doing a trademark search also reduces the risk of opposition from holders of similar trademarks, which happens more often than new owners realize. We think this step is so vital to getting one’s brand recognized that Trademark Angel offers a free trademark search with no obligation. We also recommend doing some research on your own to see if there already exist any iterations of your proposed trademarks (either online or through social media).
- Choose a strong and unique trademark! Resist picking a name that merely describes your products, or their characteristics. A trademark that is merely descriptive may disqualify you from getting onto the Amazon Brand Registry, and it can even keep you from getting registered at all. If you’re wondering whether your proposed trademark is strong enough, Trademark Angel can help in determining whether your brand is merely descriptive, and more importantly, what to do if this is the case (good news: it’s easily fixable!).
- If you file in the US, only include in your trademark application products that you are realistically going to sell within the next year. There is no point in filing for hundreds of products if you have little intention of selling them within the year. Often, trademark registrants who “overfile” their products end up having to delete many of them from their application before it’s accepted, and this guarantees delays in the registration process.
- In fact, if you already sell branded products in the US, you may consider including in your application only those products, which means that a Statement of Use won’t be required later on in the registration process (this Statement is required for all prospective products or products that are not yet being sold). Again, this speeds up the time it takes to successfully register.
- When filing your trademark application, consider using the pre-approved “pick-list” to find the products that you plan to include in your trademark application (if you don’t know what this is and you’re in the US, look up the TEAS Plus filing method. If you’re in the EU, consider filing for a fast-track application).
- The US Trademarks Office (and the Amazon Brand Registry, for that matter) will require photographs of your products with the trademark clearly shown and/or visible on the products themselves or on the products’ packaging. There is no need to prove use in the EU and the UK. These photos can’t be photoshopped or digitally altered in any way, as any suspicion that the photos do not reflect the actual product (even something as minor as removing the photos’ background or including explanatory text) can delay or even reject your trademark application. For Amazon make sure to submit photographs of your product and your packaging. Both should clearly show your trademark exactly as registered. Branding should be done in a permanent manner, meaning that temporary stickers will not be sufficient.
- It’s no secret that Amazon likes to see a functioning and active website which showcases your products and brands. We get it: many Amazon sellers are just fine operating through Amazon’s marketplace and have no desire to run or operate their own website(s). However, having a functioning website not only provides more trademark validation that can expedite your entry into the Amazon Brand Registry, it also convinces prospective buyers of your products’ value! Many “on-the-fence” buyers will search for your trademark and/or website before committing to a sale; operating a clean and professional website can secure those buyers’ confidence. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an e-commerce site (although it doesn’t hurt!). But even having a streamlined and simple website that showcases your products can go a long way. It also serves as a source for your business’ contact information!
- To speed up your acceptance into the Amazon Brand Registry, it’s good to have a domain-branded email (i.e. not Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo). Amazon will also look for your brand’s social media presence. Even something as simple as registering an account for your product(s) on Facebook or Instagram will do the trick. But this is a requirement to be accepted into the Amazon Brand Registry.
- Make sure that the Amazon Seller account has the same name that is (or will be) on the Trademark Registration certificate. You’ll need to prove that you’re the owner in question of both the Amazon account and the registration certificate on file.
- Last but not least, consider filing in the UK or the EU to speed up the process of getting into Amazon Brand Registry. Amazon.com will accept a EU or UK trademark. A UK or EU trademark is not a substitute to the US trademark, but at least it will get you in the Amazon.com Brand Registry in 3-4 months instead of 8 months (or longer).
We hope that the tips above will expedite your entry into the Amazon Brand Registry 2.0! If you have any questions for us, or you’re still unsure of what might be required for the protection and support of your brand, please don’t hesitate to ask us at Trademark Angel. We’re a team of trademarking and filing experts that are passionate about seeing new brand owners thrive in the online marketplace. And we’ve got the tools necessary to see your brand protected at prices that keep your company’s overhead to a minimum. Talk to us today!