On this week’s episode, I’m joined by an amazing special guest, Anita Mar, to answer all your questions about trademarks and Amazon. Anita is a Trademark Agent and founder of Trademark Angel, a registration agency that provides online solutions to help you with all your trademark needs. She’s been in the trademark industry since 1999, working with various law firms, but struck out on her own in 2017 after noticing potential clients asking about the brand registry requirements just introduced by Amazon.
To kick things off, Anita gives us a rundown of the benefits of Amazon’s brand registry and why she thinks it’s essential for anyone wanting to sell successfully on Amazon. She also explains how being brand registered and putting your trademark on your packaging gives you better protection against hijackers, both in putting them off in the first place and getting Amazon’s help if your listing does get hijacked. I then ask Anita about how trademarking works with bundles containing multiple brands, and she explains that what you’re trademarking isn’t the products themselves but the service you provide in putting them together in your bundle. She also runs us through some examples of trademark violations sellers might fall foul of and discusses the potential pitfalls of attempting to file trademarks yourself instead of going through an attorney or a service like Trademark Angel. We then get into specifics about trademarks, Anita explaining the difference between word marks, design marks, and combined marks, the benefits of each, and Amazon’s rule that your trademark must have some text in it to be accepted in their brand registry. She follows that up with advice on what to consider when choosing a trademark, including things to avoid (like descriptive marks), what makes for a good trademark, and the importance of a trademark search to ensure nobody’s got there before you. And finally, Anita discusses whether sellers should register for multiple classes when filing trademarks and gives us details of how to contact her and Trademark Angel for more information and assistance with questions like these.
You can find more information and ask more questions about trademarks in the Amazon Files and Mommy Income community. You can join our Facebook group with today’s codeword TRADEMARKS to learn more about bundling, ask questions, and participate in the conversation with other sellers. And if you’re ready to take your business to a whole new level, visit MommyIncome.com/Coach to schedule your one-on-one coaching call today.
This week on the Amazon Files:
“Everybody is always trying to cut corners both with time and money and efforts. But the reality is, if you do the hard work upfront and just comply, then you will have the reward of a good, registered trademark when it comes to the end.”
- Kristin Ostrander
“To be able to have a brand gives you so much protection and so much more resources to be able to use, in the brand registry, brand-enhanced content, putting on videos, putting up even a whole entire storefront dedicated to your brand. It’s a really, really important step to take.”
“When I click the brand, and I see some random results, I know the seller doesn’t have brand registry, so it’s quite obvious. But when I click on the brand, and I see their own store, and I like what I see, I may buy two or three things.”
“To remove hijackers, you need to have a registered trademark. So most people don’t really realize this—there is a difference between being in the brand registry and being able to remove hijackers. So just because you’re in the brand registry doesn’t mean you can remove hijackers.”
“We know that Amazon encourages as many sellers as possible. So that’s why, I mean, to be able to succeed in removing the hijackers, it’s important to have a registered trademark. And it’s important to put the trademark name on the product and/or on the packaging. I mean, don’t skip that step.”
“Your trademark is what appears on the package or on the product. So that’s your trademark, your trademark is not the actual products themselves. Anyone can sell what’s inside the basket.”
“The bottom line here is using your custom packaging with your trademark name on it is extremely important to report violations.”
“When they fill out this product that they know they’re going to sell, and they just include that particular product, but then they start selling another product that is not listed in their trademark application, that’s a fatal error because you can’t really add products after the filing.”
“It’s always better to file a word mark, so just standard characters without any logo, because it gives you, like, broader protection, and it gives you more flexibility.”
“I can’t say ‘Best Tire Company’ because that’s descriptive. But then you can say, ‘Banana Tires,’ and all of a sudden, I have a very unique and distinctive brand that not only you can use, so fun marketing, but you can also set yourself apart because it is unique and different that people remember it.”
“When you just begin selling, or you start a small business, sometimes you don’t think about the unique trademark. And sometimes that causes a problem because somebody may start using a similar name, and you can’t stop them because it’s simply generic. So that’s why it’s really important to pick a name that’s unique.”
“The short answer is you should register as many classes as the budget allows, but the answer is one class is enough to get you in the brand registry, to give you minimal protection, to protect your name.”
“It’s easier to register a trademark in a single class. I mean, for some reason, the trademarks office seems to like trademark applications in a single class. It’s quicker, it’s cheaper, it will still get you in the brand registry, it will give you protection. And then, as you grow, you can always file a second trademark.”
“If you’re going to register your trademark name, always get the domain name. It doesn’t matter if it’s XYZ Gift Company, whatever, go buy the dot com.”
Grow Your Amazon Business!
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Amazon Files, the show to help Amazon sellers along their business journey one step at a time with Amazon expert and your host, Kristin Ostrander. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the show, and leave us your honest review. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes with your friends on social media! Use the codeword TRADEMARKS to join us on Facebook. Each week, Kristin hosts a live discussion on how to grow your Amazon business. Don’t forget to check out our website and subscribe to our mailing list for even more resources.