Amazon Brand Registry: Pending Vs. Registered Trademark

brandnamez with yellow Amazon arrow under it by Jeremy Eche

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As a business owner navigating the world of e-commerce, protecting your brand and products on Amazon is paramount. Amazon Brand Registry is a powerful tool designed to help you safeguard your intellectual property and elevate your brand’s presence on the platform. The only way to use Amazon Brand Registry is to have either a “pending trademark” or a “registered trademark.” In this post, we will discuss the nuances of both options, guiding you through the process of leveraging Amazon Brand Registry effectively.

What is Amazon Brand Registry?

Amazon Brand Registry is a program designed to help brand owners protect their intellectual property and maintain control over their product listings on Amazon. It offers several benefits, including enhanced brand content, brand protection, and access to tools to improve your brand’s presence on the platform. 

One of the biggest benefits of Amazon Brand Registry is the ability to remove “listing hijackers,” competitors who sell your product for less and dominate the “buy button” on your product listings.

Pending Trademark vs. Registered Trademark

Before diving into Amazon Brand Registry, it’s essential to understand the difference between a “pending trademark” and a “registered trademark.”

Benefits of a Pending Trademark

Enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry with a pending trademark offers some advantages:

  • Early Brand Protection: You can start protecting your brand on Amazon while awaiting the full registration of your trademark.
  • Access to Amazon’s Tools: You gain access to Amazon’s suite of tools for brand owners, such as Enhanced Brand Content and Brand Analytics.
  • Increased Brand Credibility: Displaying the “Brand Registry” badge on your product listings enhances your credibility among potential customers.

Disadvantages of a Pending Trademark

A pending trademark does not convey the same advantages of a fully registered trademark.

  • You cannot remove hijackers and counterfeiters from your listings. So while you’re waiting a year or more for your trademark to reach registration, you may lose your “Buy Box” to hijackers or counterfeiters who are pretending to sell your goods.
  • If your trademark application is rejected, it will become abandoned. Our partner law firm has confirmed that Amazon tracks your trademark application, so once they detect that your trademark has become abandoned, they will remove some of your brand privileges. Only a full registered trademark avoids this potential business-destroying issue.

Benefits of a Registered Trademark

Once your trademark is registered, you can enjoy additional benefits:

  • Enhanced Brand Protection: Registered trademarks provide robust protection against counterfeit and infringing products on Amazon, offering a higher level of security for your brand.
  • Full Access to Brand Registry Features: With a registered trademark, you can fully utilize Amazon Brand Registry’s tools and features, including Enhanced Brand Content, A+ Content Manager, and the ability to report violations.
  • Greater Control: Registered trademark owners have more control over their product listings, ensuring that only authorized sellers can list their products under your brand name. A fully registered trademark is required if you want to remove hijackers from your listings.

The Supplemental Register Doesn’t Count

Whether you have a pending application or a registered trademark, Amazon won’t give you full Brand Registry benefits if your trademark is only on the Supplemental Register. You must be on the Principal Register, which is where trademarks are typically registered.

The Supplemental Register is where the USPTO lets people park descriptive or otherwise non-distinctive trademarks. Once a trademark on the Supplemental Register has been used in commerce enough, the owner can re-apply for the Principal Register based on a claim of Acquired Distinctiveness. Typically this means using a trademark in commerce in the US for five or more years, but if the name is too descriptive, even five years won’t be enough.

How to Apply for Amazon Brand Registry

To apply for Amazon Brand Registry, follow these general steps:

  • Step 1: Ensure your brand has a registered trademark or a pending trademark application with the USPTO or another approved government trademark office. 
  • Step 2: Create an Amazon seller account or sign in to your existing one.
  • Step 3: Go to the Amazon Brand Registry website and start the enrollment process.
  • Step 4: Provide the required information about your brand, including your trademark details.
  • Step 5: Amazon will review your application, and once approved, you can start enjoying the benefits of Brand Registry.

Conclusion

Amazon Brand Registry is a valuable tool for business owners looking to protect and enhance their brand on the platform. Understanding the difference between a pending trademark and a registered trademark is essential, as it determines the level of protection and benefits you can access. Whether you have a pending trademark or a registered one, leveraging Amazon Brand Registry can significantly impact your success on the platform.

However, you can only take full advantage of the program to strengthen your brand’s presence and protect your intellectual property if you have a registered trademark, not a pending trademark. Additionally, a pending trademark can be rejected, leading to Amazon removing some of your Brand Registry privileges.

Only a fully registered trademark avoids the risk of abandonment. So if you want to have full brand privileges on Amazon from the start, with no risk of losing them, you should buy an already-registered trademark.

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