The procedure of Amazon Brand registry has faced some changes. You already know it, if you’re a Private label seller. Anyway, we continue getting a plenty of questions from our readers. So, in this article, I want to tell you about all the changes that may affect your business on Amazon.
Here is a short list of what I’ll tell you:
I want to admit that my article is not a legal advice, but only my observations during working on Amazon. Always look through Amazon ToS before doing something in order to ensure your actions are not against them. Of is you doubt, ask a professional for recommendations.
Sellers need to adapt to new conditions when Amazon changes something. They may be uncomfortable and annoying, but they aim for one thing: making Amazon a better place for customers. It is in sellers’ interest either, as they expect that Amazon will remain the biggest online marketplace. Entrepreneurs can find millions of potential buyers for their products and it’s great.
Anyway, some changes can seem frustrating and sellers are forced to keep up to them in any case. Don’t hurry up to share your negative thoughts on new changes, just look at this situation as at some opportunity for learning. It can be positive, doesn’t it?
Here is the list of advancements of the Brand registry option:
So, a registered trademark is a ‘must have’ thing for Private label sellers to apply for Brand registry.
It’s a whole new deal for those who haven’t got their trademarks registered yet. These are + and – of this situation:
So, as you have already noticed, both pros and cons are quite significant. Anyway, if you focus just on pros, you’ll be able to build a strong business on the largest online market along with Amazon rules and requirements. This sounds like great future profits. That’s why Brand registry is a nice idea.
Of course, some extra resources and actions are needed, but the benefits you’ll get are worth all the spent time. Your brand will be better protected and you’ll have the access to unique customization options.
It still like a big ‘beta’ for users and some improvements are not added yet, however, you can test some of them already.
Firstly, it is another place and you don’t need to log in Seller Central any more. Do you log in for the first time? Use your name and password from your Amazon backoffice and you’ll get to the starting page.
You see your brands on the left panel on the picture. They were never shown in this way in the previous version of Brand registry.
Another fantastic feature is the opportunity of searching for violations (for the brand, by an ASIN, product name, the brand name itself, keywords or even images):
Here is an example. Let’s look for ‘Jungle stix’.
As you see above, 2 and 4 listings could be reported, as it seems that they are used illegally.
In general, a trademark is a phrase or word, or symbol, or some specific design that identifies the source of products - (USPTO).
It is a simple concept that is easy to understand with using a bit of imagination.
For example, let’s take into consideration baby towels. A trademark can be filled in viatrademarkengine.com for around $350. This one includes a filing fee and the procedure usually takes you no more than 10 minutes. Note, that the application has to be filed with the USPTO (the U.S. Patent and Trademark office) either.
What is needed for the trademark registering:
Trademarking may sound easy, but in fact, you should know a short list of things that are better to do or not to do. Here it is.
Here’s a workaround on avoiding applying for several trademarks, if you don’t need and want to pay for them.
Use an open-ended name for your brand instead of an individual one. It has to appear somewhere on your packaging to allow you using this trademark.
For instance, you can write ‘Nexus creations’ and write on your package something like ‘Nexus cups by Nexus creations’, and so on.
Still, if you are concerned with the questions of intellectual property, you can register separate trademarks. But if you need it for completing the Brand registry procedure, you may have one name as in my example above.
The process of trademarking is a bit conflated for those who are going to sell internationally. There is a special ‘Madrid system’ that means that a trademark can be extended to other ones.
Registering your trademark for a new territory will be more costly and difficult. So, the Madrid system is the best option. It may sound like a fairy tale, but it really works.
There’s also the WIPO (World intellectual property organization) that allows you registering your trademark internationally. So does the EU Union IPO office.
You may think of which type of TM to get, if you work with two markets, for instance, the UK and the EU marketplaces.
The Brand registry for the UK Amazon says that they accept registered word trademarks that have been registered in one of the next national TM offices: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK, or by the EU IPO. So, you may have a EU or UK trademark for accessing the UK Brand registry.
As for the United States, they accept the word TMs that have been registered by legal offices in the US, Mexico, Canada, India, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the UK, Spain and the EU.
They may change or not to change this point in future, anyway, you see that it will be more logical and cheaper to register a TM in the European Union that will give you an opportunity of working with the world’s largest marketplaces: the US, Germany and the UK.
Still, doing that doesn’t mean the full protection across all those marketplaces. Nevertheless, this way is suitable for most FBA entrepreneurs who start small or medium size Amazon businesses and need the Brand registry only to accessing some benefits.
Moreover, Brand registry protects your items on Amazon and prevents listing hijacking. So, it’s a good option anyway.
In fact, you can start using the ‘TM’ symbol before registering your trademark, if your brand name is not in use already. It means that your mark is a non-registered one.
After you’ve registered it, you may start using the ® symbol.
As I’ve said already, you’ll need a Global trade identification number (or GTIN). It is something like a UPC and is needed for generating a FNSKU (a special Amazon’s code) that has to be printed on your item's packaging for the FBA center.
Amazon has also stated that the UPCs have to be registered in GS1, the organization responsive for eCommerce barcodes. It is not cheap, but the most suitable for playing by the rule book.
You may buy UPCs from the third party companies and save money, but it will be against the Amazon ToS. Still, many sellers do that and they have never faced any difficulties. But there is a chance that they will care about it more in future.
After all, it is one of methods for starting a new product and getting more sales. After that, register the brand anyway when you’re ready.
There is a way to get your brand registered without using UPCs from GS1. It is a special Amazon GTIN feature. First of all, your item shouldn’t be in the list of brands on Amazon for requesting a GTIN exemption. Apply for it using the following info:
These are pieces of advice for creating a list for reviewing.
Getting a GTIN is not common in my experience, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get it too. I can’t share some particular tips on getting them, but if you know how it’s done, please email me and I’ll notice that info in my future articles.
Here are several scenarios of doing that…
It all is about how serious you are about your business, what protection is needed and whether you want to be risk-averse.
I think that that innovations Amazon made to the Brand registry process, is a stepping stone that will improve the customer experience for shoppers and protect and secure sellers.
So, fraudsters will be kept away from the Amazon marketplace and this will help shoppers & sellers to avoid negative experience.
Pay more attention to the positive options that are active for the registered sellers now. They give you more opportunities on a growing market.
Of course, things have become a bit more complex, but I hope that we’ll get used to them soon. It’s a one more step to making your Amazon business strong and profitable.