There is no doubt that selling on Amazon is one of the most incredible ways to start a business in 2022. It is an awesome way to earn extra money and diversify your income. In 2021 alone, around 1.2 million sellers joined the marketplace globally (Source: Statista).
However, the competition in the marketplace is quite fierce. And private-label sellers often find themselves up against unscrupulous sellers who offer counterfeit versions of their products or hijack their listings. These practices have negative effects on a business’s reputation and growth. Thus, sellers need to be proactive about protecting their brand.
One of the most effective ways to do so is by enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry program.
In this article, we will explain Amazon’s Brand Registry and how to apply for it. We’ll also discuss how trademarking works and how it can help you protect your business on AMZN.
Ready to dig in? Then let’s start!
What is Amazon Brand Registry?
Amazon Brand Registry is a special program designed by AMZN to give brand owners more control and protection over their products. Because of the myriad of Amazon FBA sellers competing for a spot on the platform, some sellers resort to copying and duplicating branded products. By leveraging on the popularity of some branded products, some sellers are abusing the system by copying their products.
As a private label seller or a brand owner, this can be frustrating. Imagine one of your most popular products getting copied and duplicated by other sellers. After spending months on the research and design of your products, you’ll get beaten in the organic rankings by the same people who copied your product. That can be a tricky predicament, especially if you have poured all of your resources and effort into your products.
The program helps protect sellers from these kinds of problems. Brand Registry is essential as a service that provides tools to help sellers protect their intellectual property, report violations, find duplicates, and share information that can help prevent these violations from occurring in the future.
Sellers who want to build registered brands must have an active, registered, or pending trademark in the country they’re trying to apply for. You can view country-specific trademark requirements on the Brand Registry site.
Sellers enrolled in the program can:
- Add their own branded products.
- Manage their branded products.
- Ensure that the info added to their branded product’s listing is accurate and correct.
- Remove and eliminate duplicates and imitations in the marketplace.
- Protect their branded products from intellectual property theft.
- Get access to A+ Content, which is a great way to improve product listings and content optimization.
- Monitor their brands on the platform.
- Have increased product visibility through alternative advertising and interactive medium of communication.
- Have a dedicated team that can handle the submissions and escalations of intellectual property infringement claims.
However, the program doesn’t do the following:
- Limit or stop other sellers from reselling your products
- Give you the ability to blacklist or gatekeep other sellers from reselling your brand
- Allow other sellers, other than the brand owner, to submit claims against intellectual property and infringement.
The program is not a guarantee against competition, but it does help reduce the chances of infringement.
How The Amazon Brand Registry Program is Used By Fraudulent Sellers
As helpful as it might be, Brand Registry can sometimes be used by fraudulent sellers, too. One of the methods used by unscrupulous black-hat sellers from different countries is to claim patents and trademarks that they do not own.
They do this to register the brands sold in AMZ under their names. Because sellers from other countries are not accountable to the U.S.’s IP laws, these false claims impact reputable sellers negatively. By using the brand registry, black-hat sellers make it difficult for real brand owners to get control over their brands.
Black hat sellers who practice these negative acts give false contact information and emails, making it almost impossible to contact them in case of a refutation. To prevent fraudulent sellers from stealing your brand, you should protect yourself by registering your brand as soon as possible. Once you do this, black hat sellers won’t be able to use these fraudulent tactics against you anymore.
The program does not make you totally immune from product listing hijackers. However, it’s always better to take protective measures rather than leave things to chance. So, should you join the program? Absolutely.
Here are some Brand Registry requirements to help you see if you’re eligible for the program.
Amazon Brand Registry Requirements
Signing up for the program is not difficult. All you have to do is visit the brand registry page and provide all the necessary information. However, not everyone is eligible for the brand registry program. So, before you begin the process, be sure you are eligible to join. Here are a few of the Brand Registry requirements to keep in mind:
- A brand name that is a registered trademark
- Your Government registered trademark number
- Images of your brand logo
- Images of your product and product packaging that carry the brand name
- A list of product categories where the brand should be listed
- List of countries where your products are manufactured or distributed
Once you have all the requirements listed above, you can go ahead and enroll in the program.
Is a Trademark a Requirement For The Brand Registry Program?
Can you join the Amz Brand Registry program without a trademark? Having a trademark was not an Amazon Brand Registry requirement until 2017. As of 2017, AMZ has made it a requirement to have a pending or active registered trademark before being able to apply to the Amz brand registry program.
This is to add another layer of protection to legitimate brand owners. Additionally, it also deters fake claims from black-hat sellers since they do not have access to these trademarks in the first place. If you are living in the U.S., you can get an active registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
To get started with your trademark, you need to follow these steps as listed in the following section:
- Have your unique name and logo.
- Make sure that you don’t have another registered trademark with the same name. You can do this by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office and searching their official database.
- Once you can confirm that you don’t have a duplicate name, file the specific class for your trademark. This is similar to choosing a subcategory for your product since this will define all the products or items under your trademarked brand.
- Check the cost for the trademark. Your trademark class will determine this.
- Hire an attorney. A licensed trademark attorney will file your application and ensure that all your requirements will be met.
What is the Amazon IP Accelerator?
Once you have submitted your trademark application, you need to wait typically at least a year before you can get an answer from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But with the pandemic slowing down most government offices, you can expect this timeline to be delayed.
Thankfully, Amazon now offers a service known as the Amazon IP Accelerator. Under this program, AMZ helps connect brands and business owners to a list of accredited Intellectual Property attorneys. These attorneys can help sellers accelerate their application for the trademark process, making it easier for them to protect their brands.
If you choose an intellectual property specialist using the IP Accelerator program, AMZ will also approve your products for your Amazon brand registry application even before your application for a trademark is accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This helps speed up the process of brand registry applications and allows sellers to better protect their brands.
Wondering if you can enroll in the program without an Amazon IP accelerator? Yes, you can. But if you don’t have much time to spare, then it’s best to use the IP accelerator.
Brand Registry Application Process
You need to have an Amazon seller central account to enroll in the program. If you don’t have one yet, start by creating an Amazon seller central account. Afterward, go to the brand registry page and follow the steps listed below to begin your brand registry application:
Create a brand registry account
You’ll have to provide some legal information, verify your identity, and the accept terms and conditions.
Enroll your brand
Once the verification process is complete, you can go ahead to enroll your brand. There are four important stages involved here.
- Brand Eligibility: This page includes information on the brand logo, the number of brand names to be registered in the registry, and the brand name that will be registered. Click the “next” button after filling out all the necessary information.
- Intellectual property: On this page, you’ll have to specify your trademark type, trademark name, registration number, and registering office.
- Identification: Here, you’ll need product photographs, brand logos, packaging images, and details about their online presence (website and social media page). Click the “next” button after filling out all the necessary information.
- Characteristics: This page requires information on the brand’s seller account and vendor account information. You’ll have to provide product codes like GTINs, EANs, UPCs, or EANs. You’ll also have to provide the license information and state where the products are manufactured and distributed. Then, click the “submit application” button.
Wait for Approval
After completing the steps listed above, you’ll have to wait for the application to be approved. The question is how long does the Amazon brand registry approval take? The approval process takes about 2-10 days. Once your application is approved, Amazon sends a code to the registered trademark office.
You’ll have to inform the trademark office that they will receive an email from Amazon. Remember to ask them to forward the email to you immediately.
- Upon receiving the code, you’ll have to log in to your Seller Central account and enter the respective Case ID from the initial email.
- Click on the Respond or View button. Next, click on Reply, then paste the code and press send.
After completing the steps listed above and entering the code successfully, the entire process should be completed in 1-2 working days.
Amazon Brand Registry Benefits
Once you have a trademark, or you are done submitting your request for brand registry approval through the IP Acceleration program, it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the entire approval process done. Most of the problems that occur in the application process come from incomplete documents and proof of claim. Make sure that all of your requirements are complete to avoid delays in your application.
There are many benefits to joining the program. You can even access the main brand dashboard by going into your Seller Central Account and going to the Brand Dashboard tab.
Need some more convincing? To help you decide whether you need to apply for the Amazon brand registry or not, here are some of the benefits that brand registered sellers enjoy:
1. Brand Protection
You have already taken the time, effort, and money to apply for your registered trademark. Should you leave all of it at that? No! The last thing you want to happen is for another jealous black hat seller to mess with you and your brand.
Joining the Amazon brand registry is your best bet for safeguarding and protecting your products. With it, you’ll be able to protect your intellectual property and content on the platform. You can also do the following with your dedicated internal team:
- Locate and disclose any violations that you see in the marketplace. This includes review manipulations on your products and getting assaulted with negative review-bombing from customers.
- Fix and report any possible issues with your product listing, This includes adding incorrect and incomplete details as well as wrong info on product variations
- Dealing with blocked listings.
- Speed up the report and tracking of IP infringement claims.
- Escalating claims that you have already submitted against unscrupulous sellers mimicking your brand.
- Monitor all of your current ongoing cases and escalations.
2. Ability to create A+ Content
Sometimes, a normal product listing is too plain and doesn’t help your product conversions. However, if your brand is registered on Amazon (Amazon brand registry), you will have access to a special tool called the A+ Content Manager.
The A+ Content Manager is a tool that allows registered sellers to create a “landing page” with added features. These features include adding modules, tabs, enhanced images, texts, and other things that aren’t available in most listings’ standard, plain text descriptions.
The added visuals and other modules you can add to your listings will help you create enhanced brand content and can be a real game-changer. In fact. one of the benefits that you can gain from creating A+ content is increased conversion rates.
One of the modules you can add using the A+ Content manager is the comparison module. This module allows you to compare different products with your brands to see their specs and features easily. When buying technical stuff such as computer CPUs and graphics cards, this is one of the first things that users look for. Creating these modules through the A+ Content manager can be a game-changer for your conversion rates.
3. Add Videos To Your Listings
This is probably one of the most underrated yet most important advantage that brand registered sellers enjoy. Unlike sellers whose products and brands aren’t registered, you can have access to adding product videos to your listings.
Conversions can spike up if you have videos on your listings. Sometimes, it is not easy to understand how to use your products just from product descriptions and instructions alone. However, a one-minute video can do more for your listing than a 1000-word description. Having a video can be the difference between getting your product added to the cart and a customer leaving your listing.
4. Create Amazon Storefronts
Storefronts can be created to engage more customers with your products. And this can only be accessed by brand-registered sellers. Stores act like actual landing pages from e-commerce websites that you often see on Shopify or Etsy. You can easily manage and promote your best-selling products with a storefront by adding headers, footers, and several content tiles.
If you aren’t too adept at creating storefronts, you can also use a template to make your life easier. All you have to do is fill the necessary fields with the required data and media, and it will begin building your storefront.
Similar to A+ Content, storefronts can also help boost your conversion rates. It helps “legitimize” the look of your store and makes your products much more recognizable to customers.
5. Amazon Posts
Amazon Posts was introduced in 2020, making it relatively fresh to the collection of Brand Registry features. Within Amazon, there is a section where brands can publish posts the way they do on social media. If you already use Facebook or Instagram, it’s simple to reuse your content on Amazon and leverage this feature to increase sales. Currently, only US sellers or vendors have access to the Amazon Posts feature.
Protecting your brand and intellectual property rights is your duty as a business owner. If you don’t exercise this duty, protecting yourself from black-hat sellers who are out to cause harm to your business will be difficult. Luckily, Amazon Brand Registry has made it easy for sellers to register their brands. Hopefully, the tips listed in this article have helped you understand how to make the most out of the Amazon Brand Registry program.
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