You have may heard of Amazon Brand Registry before. Brand registry is a way to protect your brand against counterfeiters but possibly more important than this is that Brand Registry gives you access to Enhanced Brand Content, also known as EBC. EBC can help lift your listing conversions up to 10%.
In this article I’ll discuss how to get brand registered and also how to get a trademark, one of the requirements for being brand registered, for under $500.
What is the Amazon Brand Registry?
Amazon Brand Registry, at its heart, is a way for Amazon to try and take better control of its counterfeit problem. Brand registry, in Amazon’s words, helps protect your registered trademarks (more on getting one of these cheaply later) and gives you increased authority over listings that use your brand name. More importantly, being Brand Registered gives you access to Enhanced Brand Content.
Amazon completely re-structured its Brand Registry program in April 2017. If you were Brand Registered before April 2017 you have to re-enroll.
What Brand Registry Does and Doesn’t Do
Amazon Brand Registry offers your brand some protection, but not unlimited protection.
Being Amazon Brand Registered will protect your trademarked brand from being used in other people’s listings. However, Brand Registry will not protect other people from selling your products. Even if you have a private label product that you do not resell to anyone, there could exist a grey market for your products (i.e. resale of Amazon returns, retail arbitrage, etc.). It is against Amazon’s customers interests to limit the number of sellers for any products. You can report suspicious listings to Amazon though and if the seller cannot provide sufficient documentation they’ll be kicked off the listing.
With Brand Registry you also get access to Global Catalog Identifier (GCID). A GCID, in short, gives you one unique product identifier across different Amazon marketplaces. Product descriptions can get very messy across different marketplaces so maintaining consistency is good.
Enhanced Brand Content
Enhanced Brand Content, also referred to as EBC or A+ is a feature within Amazon that allows you to add special formatting to your product descriptions. Here’s an example of EBC for the Instapot (on an aside, you really need an Instapot if you don’t already have one):
This EBC content supplements the static text description that normally appears.
Other Examples of Enhanced Brand Content
Why would you want this? The big reason is that it can increase the conversions of your listings – Amazon estimates A+ content can increase conversions 3-10%. Amazon has also been testing allowing video with EBC (video has been an option for Vendor Central customers for some time) and as we all know, video is extremely helpful for increasing conversions. When video rolls out for everyone, you want to be able to take advantage of this.
As Amazon becomes increasingly more competitive, EBC is a way to create a competitive advantage over the majority of your other competitors. In our review of over 100 listings, only 45% of brands are currently using EBC (this search was limited to the top 75 listings – overall stats are guaranteed to be lower).
How to Register Your Brand
As mentioned, the first step to getting Enhanced Brand Content is to register your brand. To do so, you simply go to Advertising menu within Seller Central and click Enhanced Brand Content.
To register your brand you need the following:
- A brand name that has a live registered trademark (either a character or design mark)
- Images of the brand’s logo
- Pictures of the brand on either the packaging or the product
- A list of product categories your products will be listed in
Everything on this list is fairly easy to achieve aside from the trademark part. Amazon is not judging the quality of your logo or your packaging. Your packaging, for all intents and purposes, can consist of an 8.5″x11″ piece of paper with your logo and product name taped to your product box.
The trademark requirement is slightly more tricky and I’ll get into that shortly about how to do it cheaply.
How to Get Your Trademark for Cheap
OK, so the real issue in getting Brand Registered is having a Trademark for your product. This was a new requirement instituted in April 2017.
There’s two issues with the trademark requirement. First, it’s fairly expensive. Trademark fees in the U.S. are $225-$400 plus lawyer fees if you choose to use a lawyer. Second, trademarks take a lot of time to be issued (around 6 months or more). Because of this last point, you should start registering your trademark as soon as possible. This is one of the first things I do with a new brand.
In terms of the the trademark fees, to register with USPTO, the organization responsible for issuing U.S. trademarks, you will pay $225-400 and lawyer fees. Lawyer fees will range from $300 for a cheap Upwork lawyer/para-legal up to $2000+ for a larger firm. The alternative is to self-register which is entirely possible for an entrepreneur and will save you on legal fees (but not USPTO’s fees).
Getting Your Trademark for Cheap
The absolute cheapest way to get your trademark is to self-register through USPTO’s website. For a TEAS Plus application it’ll cost you just $225. It is actually very easy to apply – you can do it in well under an hour and it’s not very complicated. The hard part though is ensuring that your trademark will not be rejected by USPTO.
How to Not Have Your Trademark Rejected
Whether or not you self-register or use a lawyer, your biggest goal is to avoid having your trademark rejected by USPTO. I won’t go into detail about what exactly a trademark is, but in summary it’s a mark that’s meant to distinguish your brand and avoid confusing consumers. There’s a few key points to remember with trademarks (I’m not a trademark attorney so keep this in mind):
- Trademarks protect classes of goods, not all goods
- Trademarks cannot be generic or simply descriptive
- Spelling is not important – it is how the consumer perceives the brand (i.e. you would not be able to register Nikey as a show apparel brand because it conflicts with Nike’s trademark)
The key to not having your trademark rejected is to find a non-generic word(s) that isn’t confusing with any other brands in your space. The absolute easiest way to ensure your brand will be approved is to create a fictitious name for your brand (again this has to be a fictitious word in pronunciation, not simply in spelling!). Tech startups love to do this: Uber, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Getting Your Trademark for $225
OK so you’ve picked out a name for your brand (ideally it’s a fictitious name so it isn’t rejected). Here’s a quick overview of how to apply to USPTO for your trademark and get it for $225.
- Go to the USPTO Trademark application website and fill out the TEAS Plus form.
- Fill in your contact details.
- Select the class your goods will be registered in. If you’re selling running shoes, than simply search for running shoes (there’s a built in form) and select this as the class of your goods (which is incidentally class 25). What class you decide to protect your trademark under will not impact your ability to get Amazon Brand Registered. If your sole purpose of getting a trademark is to get Amazon Brand Registered then you can be very liberal and quick in selecting a category here.
- Select your filing basis (whether you’re currently using the trademark name or not). If you already have a website with the trademark name on it this would mean you are category 1a. If you have never ever used the trademark name in ANYTHING, then select 1b.
- Fill in correspondence information and submit payment.
It is really that easy. If your mark is fictitious or truly unique you likely will not run into any problems. If there are any name conflicts, USPTO will give you a chance to respond but in reality, the vast majority of the time USPTO objects to a trademark application, there is little chance of changing their opinion and it’s best to re-file with a name mark.
As Amazon becomes increasingly more competitive, Enhanced Brand Content is just one more way to create a competitive advantage for your products and brand while at the same time protecting your brand from hi-jackers.
Do you have any questions about getting your trademark or Brand Registered? If so, share in the comments below.