IP Protection for Brands: Is Amazon Brand Registry Worth the Effort?

One criticism we at TrackStreet often hear about Amazon from manufacturers and brands is that the marketplace doesn’t always intervene to remove reseller listings that violate a manufacturer’s minimum advertised price (MAP) policy.

And while that’s true—Amazon does not act as an enforcer of manufacturers’ reseller pricing policies—the marketplace does take active steps to protect brands’ intellectual property. They don’t want to be a party to any illegal activity, after all.

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So if you are a manufacturer and discover a retailer advertising your products on Amazon at a price that’s below your MAP-approved level, you shouldn’t expect Amazon to respond to your complaint by yanking down the offending listing page. (Although the right brand protection solution can help you with this.) But if you find a rogue retailer listing your products on the marketplace without your permission—and using your trademarks, copyrighted materials, or otherwise infringing on your IP rights—Amazon will be much more likely to jump in to help.

Which brings us to a question we often hear from manufacturers interested in protecting their brands’ IP online: Is Amazon Brand Registry worth the effort? Our answer: yes, if your primary concern is safeguarding your brand’s intellectual property.

 

2 WAYS AMAZON BRAND REGISTRY HELPS TO PROTECT YOUR BRAND’S IP

 

Keep in mind that even if you sign up for Amazon Brand Registry, in most cases the marketplace will probably refuse to act as an intermediary in your pricing disputes with retailers.

But if your primary concern is protecting your brand’s IP across Amazon, the program can be a great help. Here’s how.

 

1. You Can Limit Which Retailers You Allow to Sell Your Products on Amazon

When Amazon accepts your application for the Amazon Brand Registry, the marketplace designates your company as the official “brand owner” and lets you designate a user in your organization as the “administrator” for your brand.

This lets you restrict the sellers allowed to represent your products on Amazon to those you specify. (Each of those companies will have to create their own user accounts.)

The benefit here is that instead of a free-for-all, where any seller can list your products on Amazon—even gray market companies that use dishonest means to get their hands on your inventory—now only those retail partners you specifically tell Amazon have your thumbs-up will be able to represent your brand.

This additional control over who lists your products on Amazon makes the Amazon Brand Registry worth the effort all by itself, because it can greatly reduce the number of companies violating your IP and potentially harming your brand across the marketplace.

 

2. Amazon Gives You Sophisticated Tools to Catch Violations of Your Brand’s IP

But let’s say a rogue retailer finds a way to sneak your products onto the Amazon marketplace without Amazon itself spotting the infringement. Gray marketers have developed clever tricks to pull this off—such as changing the names of your products in their listings, or intentionally using inaccurate ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) to fly under Amazon’s radar when they list your products.

The upgraded Amazon Brand Registry (which the company rolled out in 2017) now gives you access to powerful tools developed by Amazon itself to help you sniff out the bad guys who are illegally using your intellectual property to list your products.

You can go into your Amazon dashboard as often as you’d like and conduct searches across the entire site for any uses of your brand’s intellectual property—your sales copy, registered trademarks, even your product images—that might be suspect.

And if you catch one of these rogue retailers violating your brand’s IP on Amazon, you can just hit the “Report a Violation” button to let Amazon’s team know immediately that someone is infringing on your company’s intellectual property rights on the Amazon site. Because you are part of its Brand Registry, Amazon will usually respond much more quickly than if you hadn’t signed up for the program.

 

So that’s our take: signing up for the Amazon Brand Registry is definitely worth your time if protecting your brand’s IP is a concern for your company.

But your brand almost certainly appears on more sites and marketplaces than Amazon, so the Brand Registry should be just one component of a larger strategy to protect your brand. That larger strategy should include working with a team of brand protection experts. If you’d like to learn more, schedule your free demo.

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