Amazon’s Brand Registry was created to give brands who manufacture or sell their own merchandise more control over the sale of that merchandise. It allows sellers to create and manage their own company brand and to sell their products under that brand on Amazon. Sellers also have more control over the details published on product pages when they register themselves as the brand owner.
Like all services, updates are occasionally required to more effectively meet consumer needs. The new Amazon Brand Registry was updated to address subscriber concerns. Some features are an improvement, others need a little more work. Here’s a look at the new features and how Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 differs from the original Brand Registry.
Brand Protection and Brand Support
The biggest changes in the new Amazon Brand Registry are in the areas of brand protection and brand support. The brand protection feature supports sellers when they file complaints or reports regarding copyright or trademark violations. Brand support is a feature that allows sellers to report violations of Amazon policy. These updates are in direct response to seller concerns about counterfeit items.
In the original Brand Registry, it fell to the seller to investigate, authenticate and report counterfeiters and knock-off products. Brand owners who suspected counterfeiting of their products had to purchase and visually inspect those products to verify they were, indeed, counterfeited before filing a claim. Once a complaint was filed with Amazon, it often took weeks to get a response. Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 changes that process.
New Procedures for Reporting Counterfeit Products
With the new Brand Registry, Amazon has instituted a dedicated support team to assist sellers with counterfeiting issues. Brand owners can contact this team for help in protecting their product content and intellectual property on Amazon. This internal Brand Registry team lets brands do the following:
- Report marketplace violations (including product review manipulations and “not as described”)
- Retract IP infringement claims
- Escalate previously submitted cases
- Submit IP infringement claims via Amazon’s “Report Infringement Form“
- Report listing problems including appealing blocked listings, incorrect variations and incorrect information on detail pages
- Report technical issues
Along with complaint submissions, Amazon requires an intellectual property information file from the complainant. The file must include ASIN, email, name, asserted rights and so forth. Complainants must also submit a written statement verifying they are authorized to act on behalf of the brand.
One of the biggest improvements in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 over the original Brand Registry is that these new procedures take the burden of policing counterfeit brands and products off the brand owners and transfers it to Amazon. Plus, in the new Brand Registry, Amazon promises to act on all counterfeit claims within four hours.
New Tool for Intellectual Property Violations
The new Amazon Brand Registry stands out from the original version in another way, too. A hyperlink called “Report a Violation” is a new search tool that brand owners can use to locate intellectual property violations. This search tool works like Google’s reverse image search except with the “Report a Violation” feature brands can identify images, text, and keywords to look for when they are trying to locate intellectual property violations. You should also keep in mind this feature only allows reporting of trademark copyright infringement violations. Patent and brand infringement violations are reported through Amazon’s original infringement link.
New Brand Registration Requirements
In the original Brand Registry, to prove brand ownership and enroll in the brand registry, brand owners were only required to submit images of the product and the packaging with a visible brand name along with a website link that also included a brand name in the URL. Unfortunately, this process wasn’t much of a deterrent to product and brand counterfeiters. In Amazon Brand Registry 2.0, the company has added a registered U.S. trademark requirement. Brand owners who take the time to trademark their products receive the following additional benefits of enrolling in the Amazon brand registry:
- Sole possession of product listings associated with their brand
- More power in disputes with unregistered sellers over non-trademarked product listings
- Access to Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content Program allowing the use of headers, bullet points, and images to customize product listings.
- Ability to create an Amazon Brand Store to further promote your brand awareness
- Access to use Sponsored Brand Ads to advertise products and promote the brand
- Ability to assign specific roles to different entities or employees (roles like rights owner, registered agent or administrator)
One reason requiring brands to have trademarks reduces product and brand counterfeiting is it can take as long as 10 months to obtain a registered trademark. The time involved in getting a brand trademarked, and the power trademarks provide brand owners, makes it much less likely counterfeiters will target trademarked brands.
Enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0
The first thing you need to know is brands enrolled in the original Brand Registry are NOT automatically enrolled in the new Amazon Brand Registry. Because of the stricter anti-counterfeiting measures, all brands enrolled in the original registry are required to apply all over again to the new brand registry. Also, Amazon will NOT recognize pending trademarks in the registration process. You must already have a live registered trademark to enroll. Here is a list of the documentation required for enrollment in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0:
- Live registered trademark identical to product/packaging brand name
- Images of the brand logo
- Images of packaging and products with your trademarked brand name
- List of product categories where your brand will be listed
- List of countries where brand products are distributed and manufactured
It’s also important to note that Amazon currently only recognizes trademarks registered in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
Changes for the Better
The changes made in Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 are a definite improvement. Strengthening enrollment prerequisites with the addition of the trademark requirement should drastically reduce the potential for brand and product counterfeiting. Adding the “Report a Violation” search tool makes it easier for brands to identify and report instances of fakery when they do occur, which is a boon for brand owners. Amazon’s willingness to transfer the burden of authenticating counterfeit brands and products from brand owners to themselves is extremely encouraging as is their willingness to commit to a four-hour turn around time for responses to complaints.
There are still a few concerns such as the lack of protection from MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) violators and the inability to stop unauthorized, non-counterfeit merchants from buying brand products and selling them under the MAP. Amazon’s Brand Gating program does allow brand owners to both own their product listings and control which sellers can use those products. This is accomplished by requiring other merchants to apply for the right to sell your brand and products as well as requiring them to pay a fee. However, right now this program is by invitation only.
Overall, it appears that in creating the new Amazon Brand Registry, the company has taken to heart the desires of brand owners. If you are a new or existing brand owner wanting to learn more about the new brand registry, contact OperationROI by filling out our contact form or by calling us at 1-888-277-5429. Our Amazon professionals are happy to help you learn how to use Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 to your best advantage and to help you create an Amazon strategy.
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