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Registering Trademarks is Now Essential Under the New Amazon Brand Registry Rules

Under new guidelines for Amazon Brand Registry, Amazon is requiring all products sold to have their brands registered as trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Any company whose business plan includes selling products on Amazon should immediately start the process of gaining a federal trademark registration for any brand sold. 

Among the benefits of being on the Amazon Brand Registry is to boost visibility of the authentic brand.  The Amazon algorithms are designed to give more importance to the valid product listing, and to remove -- or at least lessen -- the improper listings.  The Amazon Brand Registry also filters out products from countries where the authentic product is not manufactured or sold and gives the brand owner better tools to identify infringers.  Trademark registration helps the owner stop those infringers.

Amazon has notified sellers that:  “We will deprecate the prior version of Amazon Brand Registry on May 31, 2018.”  This means that sellers should re-enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry, and may only do so if they have a registered trademark.

The concern is that it takes at least nine months to obtain a trademark registration from the USPTO, if the process goes smoothly.  To get a registration, a mark cannot be confusing with one already registered.  Also, Amazon will accept most registered marks for inclusion in its Brand Registry, although Amazon will not accept descriptive terms that are relegated to the PTO’s “Supplemental Register.”  To get around this policy, for brands that describe the product they are associated with, the owner should apply for the mark in a logo form; in this way, the PTO will register the mark on the main “Principal Register” and Amazon will accept the registration even if the words are descriptive.