Amazon’s Brand Registry program offers sellers additional protection for their trademarks by making it easier to find and remove listings from infringing third parties. To be eligible for the program, the seller must have an active trademark registration in at least one of the countries supported by Amazon. For a subset of countries, such as the U.S. but not Canada, a pending application will suffice.
To enroll in the program with either a U.S. trademark registration or a U.S. trademark application in the principal register, the trademark owner completes a simple electronic form, a confirmatory email is sent by Amazon to the listed U.S. trademark agent with a verification code to enable the owner to complete the process, after which Amazon informs the trademark owner that the U.S. trademark has been enrolled in the program. Please note that for the purposes of completing Amazon’s electronic form, U.S. trademark registration numbers are currently seven-digits long, whereas U.S. trademark application numbers are currently eight-digits long.
On its face, enrolling in the program with a Canadian trademark registration should be the same as the process of enrolling with a U.S. trademark registration. Unfortunately, the process of enrolling Canadian trademark registrations with the program is prone to error with Amazon sending an automated email rejecting an enrollment application without any further guidance. One reason is that, unlike US trademark registrations, the Canadian Trademarks Office does not request the owner’s or the trademark agent’s email address to be associated with Canadian trademark registrations.
Although Amazon’s customer service line is open (1-877-586-3230), we have been informed that they are not trained to help with Brand Registry issues and that there is currently no direct phone line to the Brand Registry department “due to a lack of manpower” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the only way to directly contact the Brand Registry support team at this point in time is to fill in their contact form and hope that they respond.
One workaround for the rejection on the Canadian side is to set up a North America Unified Account with Amazon before enrolling in the Brand Registry program. A holder of a Unified Account that has successfully enrolled in the Brand Registry program on the U.S. side (amazon.com) will receive automatic approval in the corresponding program on the Canadian side (amazon.ca). However, if you have already successfully enrolled in the Brand Registry program on the U.S. side before acquiring a Unified Account, then you will unfortunately have to apply for Brand Registry approval in Canada separately.
Lastly, another notable difference in the U.S. is the availability of Amazon’s IP Accelerator program, which serves to fast-track enrollment in the Brand Registry program via participating U.S. law firms that can help you conduct trademark searches or file trademark applications at pre-negotiated rates. As shown in Amazon’s database, there are currently only 11 U.S. law firms that are a part of this program. Further information on this program can be found on Amazon’s FAQ page.