Amazon Brand Enforcement and US Trademark Registration
Well, it seems like every holiday season, but especially just before Thanksgiving through after Christmas, I get two kinds of calls about Amazon and a lot of them.
One is that — maybe an Amazon seller has received a notice that their site, that their store has been taken down. The other kind of call is that somebody who’s got a registered Amazon brand or a registered Trademark has discovered someone else using that brand name on Amazon to sell goods and services.
Well, you definitely want to be registered as an Amazon brand seller (I’ll go into that in a different video). But some of the rules within Amazon’s ecosystem are important to know. These rules by the way are changing, just about month to month. So, I’m just going to cover at a high level what the key components are.
The first and most important rule is: A Registered Trademark Rules the Day. If you have a Trademark that’s registered you can go into Amazon, get registered with their Brand Protection Program quite quickly and then stop other people from selling products using your name, logo, or slogan.
Now, if you don’t have a Registered Trademark, it’s a little bit more difficult and more nuanced. Because you don’t want to send an Enforcement Letter through Amazon to someone that does have a Registered Trademark. That will end your store in a big hurry. But the key component to Enforcement comes down to a Take-Down Request where we would ask on your behalf Amazon to take down the shop that is selling goods and services or the shop itself that infringe the branding that you have.
Sometimes, when you receive a notice like this, you need to respond and respond fast.
By the way, Amazon will take down your site and then give you notice. They don’t just say, “Pretty please take down your site or change your name.” It happens in a snap. When you send a response, it’s got to address the points properly; and if it doesn’t, Amazon after a couple of attempts will quit reading them altogether. And if you call me after there have been two attempts, I actually have to get special permission from Amazon to ask that your store get turned back on your behalf. And they don’t have to say yes, and it can be kind of difficult sometimes. So, you gotta have the Right Responses to the Take-Down Notices.
The other thing to be aware of is something called Trademark Misuse. This is something I’ve seen quite a bit where a Trademark will be registered on, say a logo or a slogan and then the owner will try to enforce a portion of the slogan or a word that’s been disclaimed in association with that logo to get my client sites turned off. If a Trademark is misused within the Amazon ecosystem, some of the penalties that can be employed include turning off the site of the person who misused their Trademark.
Now, this is something that’s not broadcast by Amazon; but based on search results I’ve seen, I believe this — that if a Trademark is misused within the Amazon ecosystem, the ranking for the goods that they’re trying to sell are impacted by that as well. So, I think it affects Amazon’s algorithm. So, if you have questions about Enforcement, whether you need to stop someone else from copying your branding or whether you’ve received an Enforcement Letter or your site is down and you need to get it back up, give me a call, and we can get to work in a hurry.
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