Amazon Brand Registry Now Accepts Pending Trademark Applications
Updated November 13, 2023
For those who aren’t familiar, Amazon Brand Registry is a program offered to Amazon sellers that gives them access to many enhanced branding tools to help them better connect with potential customers and differentiate themselves from competitors. Perhaps most importantly, it allows Amazon sellers to remove listings that infringe on their trademark rights, including counterfeiters, “listing hijackers,” and sellers in the same industry whose brand names are simply too similar to that of the trademark owner.
Until about two months ago, we used to tell clients that Amazon only accepts sellers with fully registered trademarks for their Brand Registry program. This meant a wait time of 8-12 months before clients selling on Amazon US could get access, because that’s about how long it takes to get a trademark registered in the United States if everything goes smoothly.
April 22, 2021 Update: Amazon has changed the wording on its website since I wrote this blog post, making its requirements more ambiguous. From our own experience, however, virtually all of our clients with pending trademark applications are currently being approved for Amazon Brand Registry shortly after we file the applications with the USPTO. For example, we filed a trademark application for a houseplant brand nine days ago and they just got access from Amazon today.
November 13, 2023 Update: I’ve been updating blog post every few months and the above is still true. Our clients are still getting Amazon Brand Registry access for pending trademark applications that have just been filed. We have clients apply for Amazon Brand Registry about 50 times each month and we’re seeing about one rejection for Amazon Brand Registry for roughly every 100 clients, meaning a 99% success rate. Strangely, there seem to be no similarities among the 1% who get rejected; it’s apparently random.
Our Recent Experiences with Brand Registry
Over the past month or so, dozens of our clients have gotten Amazon Brand Registry access within a week of filing their trademark applications. At first, earlier in the year, it seemed like Amazon was just making exceptions for sellers of essential pandemic supplies like masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves. But at some point, they opened the gate for everybody else as well, because we’ve seen all kinds of Amazon sellers get instant Brand Registry Access recently.
Recent Updates to Amazon’s Requirements Page
Amazon has also updated their website to reflect this change, removing the requirement for a “registered” trademark, implying that pending trademark applications are now acceptable.
See below the old requirement compared to the current requirement.
No initial approval by the USPTO seems to be required now; just the original filing of the application. A US trademark application generally becomes searchable in the USPTO database a few business days after it’s filed. This means Amazon US sellers should be able to get access less than a week after filing a trademark application.
What About Amazon’s IP Accelerator?
Presumably this means Amazon’s IP Accelerator Program, consisting of 11 law firms arbitrarily curated by Amazon, is now obsolete, given that the main benefit of using one of these firms was immediate Brand Registry access for trademark applicants.
Does This Change Only Apply to Amazon US?
Amazon has also updated its requirements for virtually every other country to allow for pending trademark applications, so this change is not specific to the United States.
The Dangers of These Loosened Requirements
It’s not clear if Amazon has any method for determining when an application has been rejected or abandoned, let alone a system for identifying fraudulent and frivolous applications. If they don’t, Amazon sellers may be able to file applications for impossible-to-trademark phrases like “foam roller” or “holistic remedy” and immediately start wreaking havoc on their competitors.
Regardless of these dangers, I’m happy for my clients. Having to wait almost a year or more to gain Brand Registry access when a counterfeiter is currently stealing your brand name or hijacking your product listing must be a very frustrating experience. Having to choose between an affordable, transparently-priced law firm like ours and the expensive, hidden-fee-laden IP Accelerator firms must have been tough for a lot of our potential clients, and I’m glad they no longer have to make that choice.
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