Brands of any size rightfully strive to protect their reputation, integrity, and customer loyalty on Amazon. When you’re selling online versus through a storefront, issues of copyright infringement quickly impact sales and damage brands.
Unfortunately, in the past, counterfeits and scams have been a huge issue for the otherwise stellar Amazon platform (Birkenstock‘s issues come to mind). Unscrupulous companies have stolen other brands’ logos and copied their products, selling poor-quality products for way cheaper.
It’s not difficult to see how this erodes trust between brands and consumers. Enter Amazon’s solution to these issues: the new and improved Amazon Brand Registry. What exactly is Brand Registry? How can it help your business? And what are your first steps for integrating this powerful brand protection process?
What is Brand Registry?
Although Amazon has had Brand Registry as a feature previously, Brand Registry 2.0 promises a new, more powerful version to protect your brand. In fact, if you registered for brand protection prior to April 30, 2017, it’s necessary to re-register to get the benefits of the new version.
Put simply, Brand Registry is Amazon’s answer to complaints about limited control for reputable brands on the platform. It gives sellers the tools to manage their brands on Amazon and report infringements more easily. And it appears to be working: according to Amazon, 60,000 brands are already using Brand Registry, and therefore reporting 99% fewer infringements than before.
Despite issues with counterfeiting in the past, Amazon works proactively with Brand Registry to protect your brand. Amazon works with government agencies worldwide to crack down on counterfeit and copyright infringement, and Brand Registry helps bring that security directly to you as a seller or vendor.
What is Transparency?
In an effort to provide even greater protection against counterfeits on the ASIN-level, Amazon introduced Transparency. The new Transparency program offers item-level tracing services that checks individual products at Amazon fulfillment centers. Transparency requires products to have a 12-digit UPC bar code.
How will Brand Registry Benefit You?
You probably already know that successful branding increases customer loyalty, builds trust, and helps your products stand out to consumers. Amazon’s Brand Registry allows you greater control over Amazon Product pages so that you can represent your brand accurately to consumers and start building that trust and loyalty.
2. Search & Report
Gone are the days of having to constantly search Amazon for unethical companies that are copying your products, brand identity, and even logos. Brand Registry empowers you with tools to search in a more seamless way.
- Global search allows for a one-stop, one-screen way to search for imposters.
- Image search lets you sift through countless images to find ones that may be imitating your branding or logo.
- ASIN or URL search allows you to do a bulk search to find copycats, fast.
All of these search tools are supported by improved reporting functions. This means you can integrate your search in one smooth motion with reporting infringements. And they take action fast: 95% of reported violations are investigated by Amazon within 8 hours.
3. Brand Protection
By enrolling in Brand Registry, you’re giving Amazon a ton of useful information about your products, brand, and catalog. They then use this information to weed out potential infringements by tracking suspicious behavior.
For example, once Amazon knows your logo and which products are associated with your brand, they will immediately highlight unscrupulous sellers who use your logo but don’t sell products associated with your brand. They’ll also be able to flag products that are ostensibly yours but are being shipped from countries that you don’t sell from.
All of these featured work together to crack down on infringements and catch copycats in action.
4. Global 24/7 Support
No service is complete without excellent support. With Brand Registry, Amazon promises global support that’s available 24/7.
How do you get Brand Registry?
1. Review Eligibility
Your first step is to review eligibility for each country you want to enroll in. And according to Amazon, you need to have a “registered and active text or image-based trademark” specific to the country each of those trademarks in registered in.
Amazon accepts both Text-based and Image-based marks. Just make sure that when you’re applying initially, that your trademark text actually matches the brand name on the application.
When reviewing for eligibility, make sure to look into your country for additional guidelines. This will show you which agency you need to have a trademark with. For example, this would be Marcas Instituto Mexicano de Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) for Mexican products and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for United States products.
2. Sign In
Once you’ve determined your eligibility for each country you sell in, simply sign in to your Amazon account like usual to really get the process started. Sign in with your usual vendor or seller credentials.
3. Enroll your brand
This is part where you tell Amazon everything they need to know about your brand. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What’s your brand name and active registered trademark?
- What’s your government-registered trademark number?
- What product categories do you sell in?
- Which countries are your brands manufactured and distributed in?
In addition to this info helping Amazon fight on your side against copyright infringement, this also gives you as a seller or a vendor an incredible chance to highlight your seller page and offer more detailed, tailored information to your customers.
Amazon takes this process very seriously. Once you submit the required information, they will reach out to a contact who is linked to the registered trademark in your application for verification. Amazon will send a verification code to this person, and once it’s sent back to Amazon, your account will be verified and ready to go.
5. Enroll in Transparency
To further product your brand, we recommend also enrolling in Transparency. To enroll in Transparency you will need to be able to verify yourself as the brand owner for your products, have a 12-digit UPC barcode on your products, and be able to apply unique Transparency codes on every unit shipped to Amazon.
Transparency is currently free for the first 6 months or first 100,000 items. However, that may change in 2019. After the free period, sellers are charged per Transparency code based on a tiered pricing model.
- After you’ve completed all the steps of registering, you can check your application through the “case log” in your brand Registry account.
- If you have multiple brands, you can register them through the same account through clicking on the “enroll a new brand” function.
- Agents that represent brands can also gain access to Brand Registry if given permission by the rights owner.
There’s a reason Amazon has been rated the number one most reputable brand in the Harris poll for three years running: it has strong policies in place to protect your brand. With a healthy respect of copyrights, trademarks, and intellectual property rights, it’s in Amazon’s best interest to protect your brand every step of the way. By using Brand Registry, you’ll effectively leverage Amazon’s interest in brand protection for your business.