Amazon has created an Amazon Brand Registry which allows sellers selling products under their own unique brand to register that brand and claim ownership of it. There are several advantages to registering which isn’t the focus of this article, but basically if someone sells product under your brand on Amazon, you can tell Amazon to remove it since you own that brand. The key though, is to make sure your trademark meets the requirements for Amazon Brand Registry.
The requirements for a trademark to be eligible for Amazon Brand Registry are:
- The trademark must have words, letters, or numbers in it, and
- The trademark must be on the principal register with the US Patent & Trademark Office, as opposed to the supplemental register
Trademark with Words
Amazon requires you to have a trademark categorized as either trademark code 1, 4, 3, or 5:
Code 1 or Code 4: Typeset words, letters, or numbers, also known as a standard character mark
These are trademarks for a word or phrase, with no regard as to the font, color, size, or shape. The trademark covers all variations of font, color, size, or shape for the word or phrase. An example is the below trademark for COCA-COLA. It is presented in a neutral standard font, in black, to show that it covers all fonts.
Code 3: An illustration drawing which includes words, letters, or numbers
These are trademarks that have words, letters, or numbers, but also have some graphic associated with it. The below example shows Coca-Cola’s Code 3 trademark, which has the words Coca-Cola above an illustration of wavy lines.
Code 5: Words, letters, or numbers in a stylized form
These are trademarks that have words, letters, or numbers but in a specific font. The below example shows Coca-Cola’s Code 5 trademark, which has the words Coca-Cola in their unique font.
Trademark Without Words Ineligible
Notably, Amazon does not allow trademarks that fall under trademark Code 2, which are marks that do not have any words, letters, or numbers. The below example shows Coca-Cola’s Code 2 trademark, which is just the wavy line graphic. This trademark would be ineligible for Amazon’s Brand Registry as it lacks words, letters, or numbers.
Make sure you apply for a trademark that has at least some words, letters, or numbers in it to be eligible for Amazon Brand Registry. There are pros and cons to filing each type of trademark code. Talk to a trademark attorney to discuss which are suitable for your brand.
Trademark Must be on the Principal Register
Trademarks can be registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office in two different ways:
- Principal Register
- Supplemental Register
Amazon Brand Registry requires that your trademark be registered on the principal register. The principal register is stronger than the supplemental register and gives the trademark holder more benefits. When applying for a trademark, by default you ask for registration on the principal register. However, there are situations when the Trademark Office may ask you to change to the supplemental register before they will register your trademark. At that time, you may decide to argue back against the trademark office to push for the principal register, or you may accept the weaker supplemental register. Note that if you accept the supplemental register, your trademark is ineligible for Amazon’s Brand Registry.
There are many differences between a trademark on the principal register versus the supplemental register which requires its own article to discuss. As it relates to Amazon Brand Registry, remember that if the Trademark Office asks you to change to the supplemental register while you are pursuing your trademark, one of the rights you give up by going to the supplemental register is the ability to enter Amazon’s Brand Registry.