Amazon’s brand register – what is it, and how can MIA partner Briffa help?

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Amazon now operates an effective Brand Registry tool on each of its country-specific platforms which allows brand owners to exercise a great deal of control over who uses their trade marks. Here, the MIA’s trusted intellectual property partner, Briffa, explains how this works and how they can help you utilise the new tool…

A quick look at Jeff Bezos’ net worth (make sure you’re sitting down) is probably enough to satisfy yourself that Amazon is a pretty successful e-commence platform, although in the past consumers have been naturally suspicious as to the source of the goods supplied on such websites.

Fortunately however, Amazon now operates an effective Brand Registry tool on each of its country-specific platforms which allows brand owners to exercise a great deal of control over who uses their trade marks. This increases the monopoly offered by a trade mark whilst reducing the likelihood of an infringement. In fact, Amazon claims that over 350,000 brands are now registered and less than 1% of product pages viewed by its customers receive a notice of potential infringement.

The other good news is that there’s a fairly low bar for eligibility, Amazon doesn’t charge a fee and all it asks is that you provide evidence of a trade mark registration in the relevant jurisdiction. Amazon accepts both word and logo trade marks, providing they appear on your packaging, although some care now needs to be taken to make sure that the right jurisdiction is covered.

For example, the UK version of Amazon Brand Registry will currently accept trade marks registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK trade marks) and trade marks registered with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EU trade marks). However, some of you might have heard of this thing called Brexit, it’s been mentioned a few times on the news, and it means that next year EU trade marks will no longer apply in the UK. It’s very likely therefore that Amazon will change its eligibility requirements for the UK to just UK trade marks.

In practical terms, this isn’t so much of an issue if you’re already the holder of an EU trade mark, because this will automatically generate (for free) a separate UK trade mark on 1 January 2021. However, if you’re a new brand, or if you’re looking to increase your trade mark protection, it’s worth thinking about filing separate applications in both the UK and the EU. EU trade marks can take between 4 – 5 months to get through to registration (assuming there’s no opposition) and so the likelihood with future applications is that they won’t be registered before the end of the transition period.

So, how can the MIA’s IP partners at Briffa help? Well, fortunately we deal with both UK and EU trade marks every day, and we’ll continue to do so after Brexit, so we can worry about the above, advise on the best filing strategy, prepare the application and see it through to registration all for a fixed fee. Once the trade mark is registered, and if you decide to enrol with Amazon Brand Registry, we will be sent a unique access code from Amazon (as the solicitors on the record for the registration) and we can pass this directly on to you allowing you to prove to Amazon that you are the legitimate trade holder – there is no charge for this service.

If this sounds worth your while, MIA members can email alice@mia.org.uk who will put you in touch with one of Briffa’s expert trade mark solicitors. They can’t promise to make you the next Jeff Bezos, but they’ll do their best!