Since the end of last year, more and more sellers have found that their newly applied brands cannot complete the filing on Amazon Brand Registry. At first, we thought it was an isolated case when we were asked about it, but judging from the recent situation, it seems that this has become a common phenomenon.
What are the reasons behind these policies and how should we avoid them? In today's article, we will analyze in depth with you.
USPTO Policy Adjustments 3 Years Ago
For a long time, except Japan, other western countries, including: the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom have allowed trademark registrants to submit intellectual property (trademark and patent) applications through their websites. It is also after Amazon launched brand registry program, millions of Chinese sellers on the platform started to file their trademark and patent applications with USPTO. As a result, China soon became the country with the most trademark and intellectual property applications in the world for three consecutive years in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
However, the European Union Intellectual Property Office EUIPO and the United States Intellectual Property Office USPTO began to require that all trademark and patent registrations must be submitted through local qualified intellectual property agents (Practitioners) in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
At first, the EU’s enforcement capability was stronger than that of the US, which caused the cost of EU trademark registration to rise sharply. At the same time, because Amazon allowed sellers to use trademarks from other regions to complete brand registration in different markets, many sellers turned to submit trademark applications in the US. . However, many domestic trademark registration agents do not comply with the regulations of the US Intellectual Property Office, and still submit applications in their own names, or rent their qualifications from some smaller law firms in the United States to submit applications, and some even used practitioners information for trademark applications without their consent. As a result, the US Intellectual Property Office has found numerous problems with many trademarks.
Starting in 2021, the USPTO began to take illegal submissions of trademarks and intellectual property rights seriously, and directly canceled the qualifications of many trademark registration agents. The trademarks submitted through these agents also expired at the same time.
The US Intellectual Property Office even clearly stated that intellectual property agents (Practitioners) must be US citizens or residents with US passports or green cards. Although individuals can still make submissions on USPTO website, all communications with USPTO examiners can only be made through a practitioner with the above qualifications. In other words, whether it is to register a trademark or a patent in the United States, the applicant must submit their applications through practitioners who have passed the USPTO examination and obtained a professional qualification certificate. And only those with US password or permeant residency status can apply to become practitioners.
After the United States and the European Union Intellectual Property Office introduced the above regulations, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office also began to introduce the same policy.
Amazon Start working with USPTO
As a commercial platform, Amazon did not pay much attention to the relevant trends of the USPTO and the intellectual property offices of various countries at first. Before 2022, Amazon brand registration only needs to meet 3 simple conditions:
- Trademark application receipt, or registration certificate
- The contact person Email can be found on the website of the relevant intellectual property office
- The seller was able to provide photos of the real product and product packaging with the trademark
However, we learned it very recently that the relatively loose brand registry process has also caused Amazon a series of troubles, which mainly include:
- It is very common to apply for multiple trademarks in the name of the same person, but to open an Amazon store in the name of different people, which has violated Amazon Seller Policies
- In the process of multi-store operation, many sellers began to use different stores to piggyback their own listings, and obtained product reviews illegally;
- Another form of violation is to send empty packages to customers after deliberately obtaining Buy Box from a product listing
- Malicious complaints of infringement by sellers who have completed their brand registry on Amazon became very common
- The number of complaints against Amazon sellers for IP infringement by using malicious websites has increased rapidly
From 2021 to 2022, Amazon has joined hands with the US government to crack down on the above violations. But it is still not linked to the USPTO's practitioners policy.
After discovering this loophole, Amazon has been continuously adjusting its brand registration compliance since the end of last year, including:
- The contact information displayed on the websites of USPTO must match the Practitioners information listed on USPTO website;
- The name of the trademark owner must match the contact persons’ information in Amazon seller central;
- Amazon may also secretly check whether the seller who submitted the brand registry request already has his own website. The domain name of the website should include the brand name, and the contact information of the website must match the information displayed on USPTO website and Amazon Storefront page (where it shows store feedback)
Now you know why Amazon does not accept your Brand Registry Application. If you are a seller, we would strongly suggest you to use Hui Creative Services Inc as your consultant, you may also see what we can offer to Amazon FBA sellers.