While difficult, unregistered trademarks are still protectable, including against sellers on Amazon.com
Just because you are not registered with the Amazon Brand Registry program doesn’t mean that you cannot enforce your trademark rights. While it is easier to get Amazon to respond to complaints when you have a registered trademark, under U.S. trademark law, unregistered trademarks are still protectable, including against sellers on Amazon.com. It is, however, more difficult.
What can you do to increase the chances of successful enforcement? Keep detailed records of everything – your sales, your advertising, your suppliers, your authorized sellers. From that data, develop a paragraph explaining the strength and reach of your brand (this is the key to proving “unregistered” trademark rights.) This should include the markets you are in, where customers are buying from, estimated sales numbers (nothing proprietary or confidential.)
You should also learn about the different types of intellectual property violations. If someone copies your listing photographs or your advertising copy, you likely have a copyright violation, not a trademark violation. If someone created a similar product with a similar name (but isn’t pretending to be your company) then it is likely a trademark issue. If a seller selling a generic or counterfeit product, then it is likely a trademark counterfeiting issue. Knowing the difference can help save time and money when needing to enforce your rights.
When the Wait is Finally Over
You’ve waited for nine months and finally were issued your registration certificate. You registered a trademark, and now it’s time to register with Amazon’s Brand Registry, but also consider registering with the U.S. Customs office. You also need to set up a system to monitor the marketplace for infringement to diligently protect your rights.
When protecting a trademark, trademark registration is just the beginning. A trademark is an asset that is “living” – its strength and value depends on customers’ connections to your company and can be damaged by third-party use. If you end up needing an attorney, the experienced trademark attorneys at Gerben Law Firm provide free consultations for your trademark issues – click here to contact us.