#275 – The Latest Amazon Trademark Strategies for 2021
If you want to make your Amazon business a success, for many the first step is getting brand registry. That means filing for a trademark. In this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes back a guest for the third time to make sure that we have the latest information from the front lines of e-commerce trademark innovation.
Anita Mar is a registered trademark agent and founder of Seller Trademarks. She has been practicing trademark law since 1999 and is the person that makes sure that Bradley can move so quickly when he finds an interesting Amazon product idea. In this conversation, Anita explains why a trademark and Amazon brand registry are the best, first line of defense when it comes to protecting the products you’ve worked so hard to locate.
Wondering if the two-week German trademark strategy is still a great way to begin? How about why it’s important to acquire a matching domain name for your brand? Find out what the biggest changes in the trademark world have been in the last year, and most importantly, how to get yourself started!
In episode 275 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Anita discuss:
- 03:15 – Brand Registry Changes for 2021
- 06:10 – Is the German Trademark Strategy Still a Good Approach?
- 07:30 – Germany Versus the US, and Next Steps
- 09:40 – Your Trademark Should Match Your Specific Product
- 11:00 – What’s Involved in a Trademark Filing?
- 12:30 – A Trademark Professional Helps Make the USPTO a Little More Comfortable
- 14:35 – What are Trademark Filers Getting Rejected for in 2021?
- 16:45 – What Kind of Trademark Do You Need?
- 18:30 – What Are the Biggest Roadblocks for Sellers in 2021?
- 20:00 – Make Sure that Your Product is Registrable
- 23:00 – A First Step to Check for Registrability
- 25:00 – Get Your Domain Name First, Then File for a Trademark
- 27:45 – The Latest News for International Sellers
- 33:45 – How Does a US Trademark Help an Amazon Seller?
- 35:15 – How to Find Out More From Anita
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: If you are on the brand registry on Amazon, you know you need a trademark. So today we’re going to bring back Anita to talk about what has changed in the world of trademarks over the last year. Actually, did you know that her company sellertrademarks.com is partially owned by Helium 10? How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hey guys, we’ve had a few guests here on the podcast that worked for Thrasio. Thrasio is a company that acquires leading FBA brands from small business owners, just like you. They’ve got the experience of acquiring over 125 Amazon businesses. They’ve seen it all when it comes to managing and growing an Amazon brand. So, if you are thinking about selling your FBA business, visit thrasio.com/helium10 to connect with the Thrasio’s deal team. That’s thrasio.com/helium10 for more information on if your brand is a good fit for Thrasio.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody. And welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10, I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. And today we’ve got somebody who’s not a seller, but who helps hundreds, if not thousands of sellers worldwide on something that’s very important to Amazon. We’ve got Anita in the house. Anita, how’s it going?
Anita: Hi, Bradley. It’s going well today. I’m happy to be here with you again, answering your questions hopefully.
Bradley Sutton: Yes, it was so funny. The last time we recorded a podcast, I remember originally you were supposed to come into the office and that was right around the time the pandemic happened. You got stuck in Europe for who knows how long, but the world is gradually getting back to normal. Anyways, guys, if you want to find more information about or need her backstory, make sure to check out the other episode she’s been on. This is now her third time, we’ve had this podcast going for three years now, believe it or not. So, she’s making her third round. It’s been a year since the second time. So, Anita, the amazing thing is that from the first to the second time we recorded the podcast, there was so much that changed as far as brand registry and trademarks. Now it’s been about a year and a few months again, and more has changed. I thought, I’d bring you back. And let’s talk about what’s going on with trademarks in general, what’s going on with brand registry, et cetera. The first thing I wanted to talk about was I remember before that if you wanted to do a US trademark, if you wanted to get a brand registry, you actually had to wait until it was completely, fully approved and registered before the brand registry would approve. Then it changed to like, if you had never gotten a brand registry before, you could submit the pending registration number or whatever it’s called and they would accept you. But if you already had a brand registry, they wouldn’t do that for a second one. But what is the current situation now in August of 2021?
Anita: Yeah. So, things have changed dramatically. The previous program that you mentioned was the pilot program on Amazon. If you filed a trademark in the US you could apply for the pending program, which was the pilot program. It was pretty much at Amazon’s discretion whether to accept you or not. Then in October of last year, they scrapped that program. They got rid of it, but of course they didn’t tell anyone. But now, pretty much after you file a trademark in the US, and as soon as it appears in the USPTO database and the trademarks office database, you can then apply for a brand registry. And now, it’s not a pilot program anymore, and everyone gets accepted. There are some exceptions, of course, very, very rarely. They wouldn’t accept you, for example, if your account was suspended before, and they wouldn’t tell you the reason. They would say something like we noticed that your account was involved in some abusive behavior, and they wouldn’t accept it, but it’s extremely rare when it happens. And of course it happened before as well. But now that that’s the only reason why they wouldn’t accept you are in all other cases, pretty much after the filing two, three days after the filing you apply for brand registry, and it’s pretty clear, so you don’t need to wait until the registration, and that is with that US trademarks. So, with the US and Indian trademarks, actually, so with the US trademark, you file it and you get accepted. With other trademarks, it’s a bit hit and miss. We noticed that with pending Canadian and UK trademarks manuals for clients got accepted as well without waiting until the trademark got registered. So, it looks like they’re slowly getting the beat of the requirement when sellers had to wait until registration. And they’re starting to accept trademarks that were just submitted, not just in the US but in other countries as well.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. Interesting. So, for example, I mean, obviously sellertrademarks.com being a part of the Helium 10 family, I, of course, only exclusively use you for all of my brand registry. And I’ve done two or three or four now, and whenever I’ve used your services, I’ve always done the expedited German trademark, even for the USA brand registry, because I would get it in like 13 days. Guys, if you want it to be found, look at the Helium 10 blog and do very detailed recaps of how I was able to get a brand registry in like 12, 13 days. But that being said, I’m going to go open up a new brand now. Here in the US, is it still best to have the full German trademark, just because this is an actual full trademark, or if I’m using you now, should I go ahead and just have you do the US trademark and then be able to submit that other number, because then at least by the end of the period I’ll actually have a US trademark, which is enforceable, but I guess the drawback is with a pending trademark. It’s not real yet, technically.
Anita: Yeah. I mean, actually, it’s a good question. And we went to choose which trademarks to select, and many people got confused. The important point to realize is that a German trademark does not protect you in the US so it will not allow you to get rid of hijackers. It pretty much gives you no protection in the US but sometimes it’s still a better way to proceed. For example, when your US trademark is problematic, let’s say there are other similar trademarks, and you know you will not be able to get a US trademark. So if we file in the US, yes, you will get access to the brand registry, but it will be temporary because sooner or later Amazon will check the status. So, if the trademark doesn’t register, you will lose access to the brand registry. So, that’s one of the reasons why it’s better to file in another country like Germany or the UK. Another reason is if you have no sales in the US of the trademark branded product, so let’s say you sell products and your brand doesn’t appear on the products on the packaging. In this case, we will not be able to complete the US registration, the US trademark registration process, because in order to complete the registration process, you need to sell in the US, and you need to sell your branded products. And another reason is like, when you haven’t started selling on Amazon, yet you really have no clarity what products you’re going to sell. You really haven’t pinpointed that product that you’re definitely going to sell. And you don’t want to wait. So you want to start the process. That’s like another reason when it’s maybe better to file in Germany. Another reason is if there is a competitor who may likely oppose registrational of your trademark.
Anita: Let’s say you filed in the US and then there is a period of 30 days during which third parties may file on a position. So, if you’re aware of a competitor who may file on the position in the US, and if they file in a position that will become very costly, and it’s a long process to defend the trademark. In this case, it may be better to file in Germany. And I really liked Germany because in Germany, the position process happens after registration. So, it’s a very, very safe trademark. So, even if there is a competitor who may file on the position, you will get the registration first and you can use it for brand registry to get permanent access. And then even if there isn’t a position, it will be after registration. So Amazon will not go back and recheck a registered trademark. So, those are the reasons when it makes sense to file in Germany. And I do want to emphasize that if you’re just beginning to sell on Amazon and you haven’t finalized your product, it may be better to file in Germany because what may happen, let’s say we actually had a situation like this. So our client filed for forks and spoons, and they were in class eight. And at the end of the day, when the time came to file the statement of use, meaning that we had to prove that she started selling her products yet she sent us photographs of garden tools. And we told her, well, we actually filed for forks and spoons. And she said, but those gardening tools are like shovels. And those little tools that you use to plant flowers, they’re also in class A. So it’s the same class, but different products. So, she ended up switching the products without telling us, and we couldn’t add them to the trademark. So, we couldn’t complete the registration process because she didn’t sell the products that we initially included in the trademark application, many people don’t realize this. They don’t realize that we cannot add new products to the same trademark application, whereas filing for specific products. We’re not fighting like a general class. And that’s very important. That’s what many people don’t realize. So, now we’re very, very specific. And we make it clear to all our clients that we’re filing for specific products, make sure that you’re selling those products because otherwise your trademark will never register.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. Good to know. So, here’s another question then, obviously you provide a service, and it’s not free, maybe you’re involved in charity work and other things, but this is not a charity work, seller trademark. So it takes time to register and the fee reflects that. So, everybody in the Amazon world who is always looking to save money here or there, like, and so a common question I imagine is, wait a minute, I can go to USPTO website and go ahead and apply and get my pending, whatever. Like, why would I use a service like yours? And so, I mean, I think I know the answer to this question, but you can probably explain it better than me.
Anita: Yeah. I mean, the trademark registration process is quite complicated and it involves multiple steps. It’s not the same as registering a domain name. It’s much more involved and it involves multiple steps, especially in the US because the trademark registration process, it’s not just the filing. During the registration process, we may get some pushback from the trademarks office. They may ask some questions. They may even refuse your trademark. If there are similar trademarks or if your trademark is generic, or if it’s descriptive, or sometimes, the trademark may not function as a trademark. So, those are the things that may happen. And sometimes if you file them correctly, you can not fix that. So, some of the mistakes are fatal and cannot be fixed. So if you use a professional, you avoid many mistakes, and you can also, you increase your chances of getting your trademark successfully registered. And also what we noticed, if a trademark is filed with an attorney, they always check more. And they presume that there will be more mistakes. So, filing with an attorney actually increases your chances to successfully register the trademark. And plus many people when they filed, don’t fully realize that it’s important to list the products correctly. They don’t realize that you need to provide corrections for a graph showing use of the trademark. So they may file in the way that will actually jeopardize the chances of successfully registering the trademark. And plus sometimes, you file a trademark and there is a similar trademark. And because you didn’t do a proper trademark search before you didn’t know about this trademark. And then you will end up with an objection and you will end up with a refusal.
Anita: For those refusals, well, trademark objections, it’s the same as the refusal. So, when you get the objection, it looks like the trademark is refused. So, we had many clients who came to us and they said, all my trademark has been refused. I don’t know what to do. I need to refile. And they didn’t realize that you can actually argue with the examiner. You can respond to that refusal and you can try and persuade the examiner that the trademark should be registered. So in many cases, when you file a trademark, can you get that refusal, you think that that’s it. I have to refile, or I have to do something else, but you don’t really think that you can actually respond to that refusal. But when you respond to that refusal, it’s not just, oh, examiner, I think you’re wrong. My trademark is different from this trademark. You actually have to provide the proper reasons. You need to do case law research. You need to look at other trademarks that are registered. So, you need to do many things. And obviously you, it’s very difficult to do yourself if you haven’t really studied how to do that.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Okay. All right. So what are just so people have an idea about some of the things you mentioned there or about how, especially when you try and do it on your own, it could get flagged, or somebody can do something the wrong way, because it’s not just like, oh, here’s three questions. Let me just click this multiple choice and boom, that’s it. What are some of the things that you have seen people rejected for? Because they really didn’t know what they were doing.
Anita: Yeah. I’ll just mention one, which happens a lot. So as you know, when you sell on Amazon, you need to provide good photographs. So, what people do they hire professional photographers to take good pictures of the products and they actually Photoshop those pictures. They remove the background, they make it more improve the contrast, the brightness. So they actually play with the images, right? So, the products are still real, but the images are photoshopped like for a trademark filing, the images cannot be Photoshop. So, if you include photographs of your products and those images have been photoshopped, you will get a refusal. So the trademark will be flagged. And USPTO will think that you actually, that you Photoshop the images and you actually superimpose the trademark name on the product. So, it’s like a very, very common reason for getting that. Well, it’s not really a refusal, but it’s an objection. They may do like an audit and verified that you actually sell in the US, so they may get for copies of, they may ask for copies of invoices, they will ask for like the link where you sell the products. So, we always ask for the images that have not been photoshopped, with that– they’re not clean the background and not do any editing at all because they have software and they detect Photoshop. And when they detect Photoshop, they single it’s not a real business because there are many trademarks that are getting filed now, when there is no real business behind, they don’t actually sell anything. And they have no products and they just pretty much Photoshop, everything. And the USPTO is trying to deal with this. And they are really, really suspicious, when they see a photoshopped image. So, even if it was the real one, if they detect Photoshop, well, you may be in trouble. So, that’s like one of the reasons,
Bradley Sutton: Okay, now, one other thing let’s say I got my trademark, but I forgot what kind it was a couple of times I’d be rejected on the Amazon side and it’s an easy fix, but I forgot what it was. It was something like, oh, you chose a logo mark, but it’s really a wordmark or something, or vice versa or something like that. So, can you talk about the difference between the two and which one should people be trying to get?
Anita: Yeah. So there are basically three types of, well, not three types of trademarks. There are many more like sounds and senses, but we’ll just talk about text and logos. So, there is a text-based trademark, which consists only of text, just the words or numbers. And it’s called a standard character trademark. So, it’s pretty much text play, you know, pure and simple. Then there is a logo and the abstract logo, or like a picture of something without any text. And then there is a combined mark that consists of the text and the logo together, so text marks can combine marks acceptable for Amazon, but pure images like images without any text, without anything that can be pronounced, those are not acceptable. And it makes sense because the brand on your Amazon listing should match the text portion of your trademark. So, there is no text in your trademark. You cannot pronounce it. You cannot call your listing like this. So it should be either the text-based trademark, or text plus logo. Those two are fine.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. What else? We’ve been talking about common mistakes and we’ve been talking about some confusion about different types of things. What are some common mistakes, some common frequently asked questions, some confusion that people have had over the last year about either brand registry, or just trademarks in general?
Anita: Well, I mean, very often, clients come to us and they are really in a hurry to file without deciding which products they’re going to sell. So, they just want to file, but they have no idea what they’re going to sell. So that’s one of, well, it’s not really a mistake, but you should really have a clear idea what you’re going to sell before we file a trademark application, because it’s filed for specific products. And if you don’t have a clear idea, but you still want to file for whatever reason, then it’s best to file in the UK or in Germany, because in those countries, you don’t really need to prove any use of the trademark. So, you don’t need to have any sales before registration, but if we’re talking about the US, it’s really important to understand which products you’re going to sell. So, if you don’t have that idea, it’s too early to file. Another mistake is when people pick a trademark, that’s very descriptive, for example, you sell plastic products and you call your trademark, like pure plastic. In this case, the trademark is descriptive. So there is no unique part, and the trademark may be rejected. So, before deciding on which trademark name you’re going to choose, it’s best to make sure it’s registrable. So, it’s very important to do the trademark search to make sure that the trademark that you have chosen is actually registrable. So, it’s very important that this is done before you put the name on the products, because very often we have a client who comes to us and the trademark is not registrable either because it’s descriptive, or because there is another trademark and they tell us, oh, but I already put everything in production, so I can’t change the name because it’s too late.
Anita: So, in this case, it may be a big problem. So, we may be forced to file in another country, or we may be forced to file for the products that are not the core products, or we may be forced to add some image to the trademark to make it less descriptive. But it’s very, very important to do the search before the filing. It’s definitely one of the things that cannot be neglected. And it’s not difficult to do yourself, but obviously it’s best if it’s done by a professional. And the registrable trademark is not descriptive. It’s not generic, so it doesn’t name the product. It doesn’t describe the product and doesn’t conflict with another trademark that was filed, or that was registered in the country where you’re planning to file. So, that’s another potential problem. So, I guess those are the two, well, two obstacles, I guess, two problems. Also, I wanted to mention something before we forgot about Amazon’s new rules. So, since October of last year that they are now Amazon, when you apply for the brand registry, how it was before you applied for the brand registry, you provide the trademark registration number, your Amazon listing, you answer some questions and that’s it. But since October, Amazon has changed the rules because there have been a lot of instances when sellers were trying to get in the brand registry without actually having real products. So, now when you apply for brand registry, you should actually provide photographs of your products, as well. And those products should have the trademark name on them. So, pretty much they’re asking for the same thing that the US PTO is asking you when you file the statement of use. So, they want to make sure that you have real products in hand, and they don’t actually need any sales yet, but they want to make sure that the products exist and that those products actually show the trademark name on them or the trademark logo. So, that’s like one of the requirements. So, even if you let’s say, you really want to file as quickly as possible, but you don’t have any real photographs, in this case, you will not get in the brand registry until you provide those photographs to Amazon. So, that has been a big change.
Bradley Sutton: Good to know. Good to know. Let’s see what else. Okay, another question I had was obviously whether somebody is doing it themselves or using you, there’s this process where sometimes, either the USPTO will say this, or even you will say it, before you even submit it where it’s like, you know what, there’s a chance that this might get rejected. And then usually it’s because, oh, like, maybe there’s a word in common with something, or there might be confusion. Can you talk about, obviously there’s probably a thousand different things that could result in something being deemed too similar to an existing brand, but what are some of the main, most common ones where it’s like, Hey, a person could almost check this on their own. And, I mean, obviously, if there’s Kia and then if I’m doing Kiam, and it’s a car, it might get rejected because it’s too similar to key or something, but can you talk about other real life examples that could happen?
Anita: Yeah, so it’s actually pretty simple. So, the initial check can be done by anyone and what you do, you pretty much can go to the USPTO website, and you can just put your trademark name there and see what comes up. So, if you see an identical trademark, with the same name, then you should look at the list of products that it was filed for. If the products look very similar over the identical, then it’s a direct hit. So, an identical trademark was already registered for the same products or for very similar products. Then it’s a problem. So, that can easily be checked by yourself. You can also use what I mentioned on this website many times, Name Chk. Name, and then chk.com. So, you put your trademark name in there and you just see what comes up. If the domain name is available, you check whether Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are available. And it also does the basic trademark search as well. So if you see that, oh, there is actually the domain name taken. And then there is somebody on Facebook with the same name. But there is no trademark, maybe it’s best to stay away because I mean, there is still a conflict, plus you don’t, you can get the domain name. So, it’s very important to do that. The first thing that actually you should do, like when you are– once you find a trademark that you like and you check the domain name, I strongly recommend to get the domain name, because what we noticed and is that like, when clients check the domain name and it’s available, and then they think, okay, I’ll get it later.
Anita: And they come back in a week and it’s taken, so somebody bought it. And I don’t know if they detect that somebody did the search for this name, or what it is, but it’s very important to get the domain name first. So, even if you end up not filing for that trademark, it’s only like $10 for the first year. So, it’s not a big loss. So, getting the domain name first is very important to do, and that’s what many people forget to do actually, or they leave it until later and later it becomes impossible because somebody bought it. So I think that’s a good idea to get the domain name. And then immediately after that, file a trademark because if you decide to find a trademark, but then you procrastinate or you decide to put it on hold, for whatever reason somebody else may file for the trademark. It also happens to us well, not to us, to our clients. Sometimes, when a competitor finds out about a trademark that our client wants to file either because they posted it on social media, or they actually launched it on Amazon and they didn’t file the trademark. That competitor may file for the trademark first. And sometimes it’s a matter of days. So, it’s very, very crucial not to procrastinate and to file for the trademark, well, as soon as possible. When we do the trademark socialists that you buy packages on seller trademarks website, we do the comprehensive trademark search. So we tell you, okay, your trademark is registrable or problematic or whatever. And let’s say the search is done on August 2nd. And then we prepare everything. And then let’s say, you decided that you wanted to wait until you make the first sale, or you wanted to maybe add some more products and you decide to do some product research, or I don’t know, maybe you go on vacation. Then we ended up filing in October. So I call this period like a danger gap, because during this period, somebody else may file for a trademark and we don’t do another trademark search there. So, like a lot of time has passed. So even if we file on like August 20, it’s still three weeks. In three weeks, somebody else may file. So, it’s very important to do things quickly. Once you decide to proceed, you concentrate on getting the trademark filed, and you respond to our emails, you respond to our questions quickly. And then we filed the trademark quickly. I really don’t like when things get delayed or clients decide to put it on hold for whatever reason, and then something happens and the trademark becomes unavailable.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Good to know. Different countries, so obviously if I sell into Amazon USA, I get Amazon brand registry here for the USA. Now, since I have a trademark, regardless of where that trademark is from, as if I’m expanding my marketplaces and now selling in Amazon, UK and Amazon Germany, my brand registry should transfer over, right? Or do I need to re-register and get a trademark in the local European marketplaces?
Anita: Yeah. So, basically one trademark. So, you should look at the list of countries where Amazon has a presence and they’re constantly expanding that list. So, they added Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, like Sweden, Japan, Brazil. So those are all the new countries. So, if you have a trademark from any of those countries, you can use the trademark for brand registry on all Amazon marketplaces. So, if you have a trademark in the US. So, on amazon.com, you will get full protection. You will get the ability to remove hijackers, but on other Amazon marketplaces on amazon.ca, you will still get brand registry, but you will not get the ability to remove hijackers, but you will still get access to brand registry. And you will need to– you may need to reply, like to add your trademark on amazon.ca, but it’s pretty much one trademark that will work for all of the Amazon marketplaces. But if you want full protection, if you want to remove a Hijacker, then you definitely need to file in that country as well.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, good to know. What else is new? It has changed either in Amazon or the way that people apply for trademarks in a certain country, anything different in the last year and a half, since you’ve been on that we need to know about.
Anita: Well, I mean, there have been some delays on the trademark registration process in all countries, pretty much in the US the timeline now is 12 to 14 months. And like in the European Union and the UK, for example, it’s about five months now. In Germany it is still quick with accelerated examinations lasting two to three weeks. I think Germany is the only country that hasn’t been affected by COVID delays, but all other countries have been affected. And in the US they’re like, since last year, there has been like a 60% increase in trademark filings. So, the timeline has really increased. So, I think everyone is getting into the online business now and filing trademarks and Amazon is also becoming more and more– they’re learning. So, they’re adding more rules like the requirement to provide a photograph has been a bit of, well, call it a good change, but it may be– it may delay getting in the brand registry. And so we always emphasize, okay, make sure that you have real photographs, ask your manufacturer to send you real photographs, because otherwise you won’t get in the brand registry. But I think now, Amazon is moving away from the AP accelerator program, they are just pretty much opening up the ability to get access to brand registry, with their file trademark. And also, I just wanted to mention a quick thing about transparency. So, to get into the transparency program, you need a registered trademark. And what we learned recently is that you can get in the transparency program with the registered trademark in another country. I always thought for some reason that it was, it had to be a trademark. Let’s say, if you sell on amazon.com, I always thought it had to be like a US registered trademark, but recently we learned that you can actually have a registered German trademark and still get access to transparency– to the transparency program. So, that’s obviously new and, uh, I wish there was a manual that we could all read and see like what Amazon accepts or not.
Anita: Another thing I wanted to mention, that once you create, but now, to create a listing, you need to get in the brand registry, so first you apply for brand registry and then you create a listing, but if you already have a listing with the name, make sure that we file for the same trademark and it has to match. So, that’s very, very important. So, the case has to match. So, if your listing name is in all capital letters, then we have to file in all capital letters. But if the listing name has the initial capital letter, we have to file with the initial capital letter and Amazon doesn’t really allow any changes anymore. They may only allow very, very slight changes, like an extra space or a period, but they will not allow you to rename your listing with rare exceptions. So, it’s very important to like, if you already have a listing and then we filed for a trademark, so those two things have to match. It’s also a good idea to register copyright. If you think that you have a unique photograph, so you have, let’s say you sell handmade jewelry and you have unique photographs. We know that sometimes even with the registered trademark, sometimes Amazon doesn’t really want to help you very much. So, we noticed that if a copyright is registered, sometimes it’s easier to enforce your rights, if you claimed that the copyright wasn’t fringed. So, that’s another good thing to think about and to keep in mind that it’s not all about trademarks.
Bradley Sutton: All right, good to know. So anyways, we’ve been talking strictly, like in the Amazon sense, mainly about, Hey, how to get brand registry and things, but just in real life, you’ve got a US trademark, maybe I don’t care about brand registry. How has having a US trademark helped me in my business here? Like what are some of the things that I can hopefully prevent by having this?
Anita: Well, you cannot, it makes it much easier to enforce your rights, because if you have a registered trademark, you can send a cease and desist letter to your competitor who uses a similar trademark, and hopefully they will rebrand. It also– when you have a registered trademark, it increases the value of your business. It increases the value of your assets. So, whatever you paid for your trademark registration will pay off. And the older your trademark is, the more valuable your business becomes, because if you sell your business, I mean, the trademark, your trademark is the asset. So, that’s something that you cannot underestimate. Also, if you want to go into franchising, you need to register your trademark, obviously. And pretty much in the US, you get exclusive rights to own your trademark for your specific products. So, it doesn’t matter. Let’s save in another state. There is another company that opened up and they decided to adopt a similar trademark. You cannot tell them to stop, and you can rely on your federal trademark. So there are lots of benefits actually, somehow with the Amazon sellers, all Amazon sellers think about is brand registry. And it’s very unfortunate that it became all about brand registry. But it’s definitely not like that.
Bradley Sutton: Yes, indeed. All right. Well, if people are just getting started on Amazon or they’re launching a new product, they would like to reach out to you in order to go ahead and help them, uh, you know, with a US trademark, German trademark, UK trademark, you do them all. What’s an easy to remember website that people can go to?
Anita: Yeah, it’s sellertrademarks.com, and you can all send a message to email@example.com. And there may be some new features added to the website very soon, right, Bradley?
Bradley Sutton: Hopefully we’ll see. Yeap. Look forward to it.
Anita: I hope so.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Well, Anita, thank you very much. I know, in 2022, there’s probably going to be like seven, eight things again, that have changed since this one. So we’ll definitely bring you back and I’m actually might be launching a couple more brands this year. So, I’ll be hitting you up to get those trademarks.
Anita: Yeah. It’s definitely an interesting field that it’s never boring. I mean, I think that’s my favorite field in the legal field, because it really changes all the time. And there are so many new things that we learn all the time. So, it was definitely fun.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. All right. Well, enjoy the rest of the year and we’ll talk to you later.
Anita: Yeah. Talk to you later. Bye. Bye.
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