Amazon recently launched what they call the 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, you can tell Amazon to remove it since you own that brand. The key though, is in order to register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry, you must have a trademark registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office and more importantly, the trademark must be a standard character mark. Many sellers trying to register their mark have been rejected by Amazon because their trademark is not a standard character mark.
A trademark for a word or phrase can be filed in two ways:
- Standard character mark
- Stylized mark
Let’s take our company name, for example, Thoughts to Paper. When we applied for the trademark on the name, we applied for a standard character mark, and it looks like this:
Standard character mark means we are applying for a trademark for the word or words, as standard characters, un-stylized, with no regards towards the font, color, size, or shape. We want to prevent others from using the phrase “Thoughts to Paper” regardless of what these words look like. We are saying we simply want the standard characters “Thoughts to Paper”.
However, if you examine our actual logo, you will see that our words Thoughts to Paper is in a special font:
If we applied for a trademark by using the above image, where our company name is in the special font and color, then that trademark application would instead be a “Stylized Mark”, and ineligible for Amazon’s Brand Registry.
If you are trying to protect a word or phrase such as your company name or product name, a standard character mark is a stronger trademark than a stylized mark. This is because a standard character mark is protecting a word or phrase without specifying the font, color, size, or shape. By not specifying the font, color, size, or shape, you are asking for protection on just that word or phrase, regardless of what that word or phrase looks like, regardless of how it is styled.
So, when would you apply for a trademark using the Stylized Mark option? That option is best for logos. For example, we have a graphic in our logo that looks like a document. To protect this graphic, we would file a trademark for this graphic as a Stylized Mark:
Amazon is accepting brands into its Brand Registry only if you have a properly registered trademark for words only, a standard character mark. If you are applying for a trademark on a company or brand name, make sure it is filed as a standard character mark at time of filing. We can assist with ensuring your trademark application is properly filed this way. If you already have a trademark but it is getting denied by Amazon for not being a standard character mark, we can assist in filing a new trademark as a standard character mark so that you can be eligible for Amazon’s Brand Registry.