Amazon's Brand Registry Cracking Down on Counterfeits
Amazon recently launched a newly updated Amazon Brand Registry Program aimed at helping protect the brands of sellers who use Amazon as a platform to make sales. Will it work?
The newly revised Brand Registry program is designed to address issues that sellers had about other sellers infringing (or violating) their trademarks and intellectual property rights. It has been common in the past for some sellers to mimic the product listings of well-known and successful brands in an attempt to benefit from their legitimate brands position in the marketplace. That, of course, confused some consumers who would mistakenly purchase products from rogue, copycat sellers.
The new Brand Registry program at Amazon is limited to only those sellers that hold registered trademarks for their brands (requiring trademark registration with the US Patent and Trademark Office or the USPTO). Under the previous version of the program, sellers only had to prove they held the domain name for a brand, that their packaging contained the brand name, and that the product itself used the brand name. The new program of course is much more rigorous.
Also worthy of note, by registering, a seller can have sole ownership of the Amazon Buy Box associated with that brand. If another seller attempts to hijack that Buy Box or listing, the registered seller will only need to contact Amazon to have the item removed. Amazon is essentially promising that counterfeit claims submitted by Brand Registry participants will be dealt with in four hours. Brand Registry participants no longer need to perform a “test buy” before submitting a counterfeiting claim and the burden of proof now falls on the seller who is accused of counterfeiting.
The “Report a Violation” tool has also changed. Instead of identifying violations (and the related hyperlinks) manually, Brand Registry participants may use a new search tool to perform the equivalent of a reverse image search to locate violations of its intellectual property, including images, text, and keywords. This “Report a Violation” tool only applies to reporting violations associated with trademark or copyright infringement. Patent claims must still be submitted through Amazon’s traditional processes.
The Amazon Brand Registry also now provides e-commerce sellers with tools such as text and image search and predictive automation that will help drive consumer traffic to sellers’ Amazon sites. Sellers who participate in Amazon’s Brand Registry program will be better able to funnel potential customers to their Amazon marketplace sites through keyword searches using the brand name.
Amazon is indicating that sellers who enrolled in the Brand Registry problem prior to April 30, 2017 will need to re-enroll.