Online retailers are often targeted by counterfeiters who seek to mimic their products and/or services to ultimately trick and defraud consumers. Throughout the years, major websites and social media platforms have developed various methods of “verification” to help consumers sort through the noise and more easily identify whether a brand they are dealing with is authentic or a fake.
Twitter, for example, provides verified users with a blue checkmark so that consumers know that the account in question is authentic. Facebook pages and profiles are provided with a blue badge when they are verified by the platform. Amazon has also jumped into the war against counterfeiters by offering retailers who qualify the opportunity to participate in their Brand Registry Program. The program seeks to help retailers protect their intellectual property, while also providing consumers with the peace of mind knowing that they are interacting with a verified merchant.
In order to participate in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program, Amazon requires that the merchant have a registered active trademark that appears on the company’s product or packaging and that the merchant must be able to verify that he or she is indeed the owner or authorized agent of the trademark.
For retailers who sell on Amazon, being able to participate in the Brand Registry Program is a huge incentive to get their “IP” in order. If you sell (or plan to) on Amazon and have been procrastinating on registering your trademark with the USPTO, now is the time to take action so that you can utilize the protections offered.
Participating in the registry also makes it easier for brands to report suspected cases of infringement to Amazon so that the counterfeit products, images, listings, etc. can be removed from the platform. A merchant who is approved under the Brand Registry Program will simply need to submit a report of infringement, and Amazon will take the next steps to investigate and act against the counterfeit seller or brand.
Again, if you have not yet registered your trademark, the time to do so is now so that you can participate in the program. It can take 8-13 months from the time of filing to receive your registration in the US, so plan accordingly. Simply adding a TM next to your mark will not suffice; it must be officially registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
If you need assistance getting started, our trademark attorneys can help you develop your ideas and ultimately get your mark registered with the USPTO. Simply contact us at 888-666-0062 and ask to schedule a free consultation with the mention of this blog.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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