Amazon Brand Registry: Intellectual Property and MAP Issues

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Whether you’re an established brand or just starting out, the Amazon marketplace can either be a curse or a real blessing. While it’s true that many brands find success with Amazon, still, others are reluctant to put their products there due to prevalent counterfeiting. To remedy this, Amazon established the Brand Registry program to help manufacturers and brand owners pinpoint and thwart counterfeiters. However, what does this mean for your intellectual property if you join the program? Can it really help protect your brand, and what about your minimum advertised price (MAP) policy enforcement efforts?

Specify which sellers can represent and sell your products

Once you’ve been officially registered in Brand Registry, Amazon will designate you as the brand owner and allows you to appoint anyone on your team to be the administrator of your brand for the marketplace. As a registered brand owner, you can specify and limit which sellers can sell your products in the marketplace. This is an excellent benefit because only the sellers you specify in Brand Registry can market and sell your products, which means that counterfeiters or gray market sellers won’t be able to sell their counterfeited products under your brand.

Leverage powerful tools to spot violators of your brand’s intellectual property

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Let’s say that a particularly savvy counterfeiter manages to sneak in your products and lists them on Amazon and Amazon fails to determine the infringement. You can easily take matters into your own hands and use tools provided by Brand Registry to identify the counterfeiter. For example, you can use the dashboard for performing searches in the marketplace for any seller that uses your intellectual property, including your registered trademarks, sales copy, and product images, without your consent. Once you find the rogue reseller that’s representing and selling your products on Amazon, you should then report the incident to Amazon, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Understand Amazon Brand Registry and MAP policy enforcement well

Amazon Brand Registry is immensely useful for safeguarding your IP in the Amazon marketplace and preventing rogue retailers from selling your products. However, it won’t necessarily give you support to enforce your MAP policy. The program’s primary task is to take action against sellers who sell counterfeit products, and it won’t penalize or block sellers who list your branded products without your authorization or those who advertise your products below your minimum advertised price (MAP). The reason for this is that Amazon deems MAP violations as distribution issues, and not IP issues, and therefore considers MAP enforcement as the brand owner’s responsibility. Hence, basically, MAP enforcement solely falls on you.

The bottom line—being an official Amazon Brand Registry member is something that you should consider to help safeguard your intellectual property while selling on Amazon. With the tools provided, you can significantly cut down the number of counterfeiters intent on using your brand for their gain and jeopardizing your brand in the marketplace. However, while Brand Registry can help you fight counterfeiters and rogue sellers, it won’t remove product listings that violate your MAP. Therefore, you need to make certain that you have a solid enforcement strategy if you decide to sell on Amazon or anywhere online for that matter.

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