If you’ve been selling on Amazon for any significant period of time, you’ve likely encountered issues related to intellectual property.  This is especially true if you are a manufacturer or brand owner (most of our clients) as opposed to a reseller or distributor.  Unfortunately, its fairly common to find copyright infringement violations on Amazon – such as other sellers stealing your photos or product descriptions.  And sellers selling counterfeit merchandise seems to have been on the rise in recent years as well.

Over the past several months, however, Amazon has started to take notice and put in place some initiatives to help brands protect their intellectual property on the world’s largest e-commerce site.  Specifically, Amazon has clearly stated that they respect officially filed trademarks.  A registered trademark is now a necessity in order to qualify for Amazon’s “brand registry”, which basically tells Amazon that you are the owner of the brand and thus your voice is stronger than that of other sellers who sell (or claim to sell) your products.  We believe this also may be involved as Amazon further rolls out “brand gating” – a means of allowing or disallowing certain sellers from selling your branded products – in the coming months.  Currently brand gating is only available to huge household name brands.

A good friend of mine and former client from back in my pre-Amazon days recently wrote a post that gives more information about the trademark registration process and specifically what Amazon sellers should do while waiting for their trademark to finalize.  Check it out!