Amazon Launches Brand Registry 2.0
by Liz Adamson
Recently Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") rolled out a new version of the brand registry program. Since then, there have been many questions on what it is and how to apply.
What is Brand Registry?
First, a quick review of the old brand registry. The original brand registry was designed to help brand owners lock down the content of their product pages. Since both Amazon and numerous third-party sellers can be selling the same product on the same page, the content that is published on that page is determined by numerous factors. You can have a title from one seller, images from another and bullets from yet another, all depending on the level of page detail control Amazon had assigned the seller.
The brand registry allowed brand owners more control over this. Once their brand was on the registry, any of their listings using the same brand name would essentially have the content locked down. Meaning that if other sellers jumped on your listing and contributed their own product data, title, images, bullets, etc., your contribution would stay published on the product page. The exception of course is that when Amazon is a seller, their content contributions are always published.
What is Brand Registry 2.0?
This is Amazon’s response to the growing counterfeit problem. According to Amazon, the new brand registry “provides powerful tools including proprietary text and image search, predictive automation based on your reports of suspected property rights violations...” It continues to provide page detail control over content on your listings using your brand name.
Brand registry 2.0 will allow brand owners to file complaints about counterfeiters and trademark violations. Without 2.0, brand owners would have to order the product themselves, take pictures showing proof of the counterfeit product and send in the documentation, often waiting weeks or days for a response. With the new brand registry, complaints are processed within 4 hours. Merchants will also be able to access more information about sellers listed on their branded products.
How Do I Apply?
The application for the new brand registry is now found on its own site: brandregistry.amazon.com. More information about the application process can be found on the site. There are a number of questions to answer and requirements you must meet. For the old brand registry you simply needed a brand name, website and some photos of your logo or brand name on the product and packaging. With 2.0 Amazon has added an additional requirement, a registered trademark. You will not be able to apply for brand registry 2.0 without a trademark registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
A trademark is something any brand should seriously consider as it protects your brand name from copycats and counterfeiters both on and off the Amazon marketplace. A registered trademark will give you the legal teeth needed to keep other companies or individuals from using your brand name on their products.
How Do I Register a Trademark?
If you have current brands you would like on the new brand registry, the first step is to do a search of the USPTO database to find out if a third party has already registered your brand in your category. If they have, you may be out of luck. Options in this case are to rebrand or continue operating without a trademark and brand registry 2.0. You may want to consult a lawyer or trademark expert for help finding the best way forward.
If there is no existing registration for your brand name, you can apply by yourself or with the help of a lawyer. Keep in mind the process does take about 7-8 months and will cost anywhere from $225-$400 just for the registration.
In terms of long-term planning, before launching a new brand, do your homework. Do a search on the USPTO site and ensure the brand name you are considering is free. If so, start the application process as soon as possible.
Protection for Brands
I’m encouraged to see Amazon doing more to help sellers police their brand and stop counterfeiters. While the trademark registration process can be seen as more red tape, it is a valuable asset and will only help you in the long run. Amazon will likely continue to develop ways to protect their customers from inauthentic products and provide a positive shopping experience on their marketplace. So stay tuned.
Originally published on July 25, 2017, updated August 7, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.