What is Trademark and what are the types of Trademarks? Let’s explore the answers of these two important questions in the following video.
Table of contents
- What is Trademark?
- Trademark Requirements for Amazon
- What are the Types of Trademarks?
- Types of Trademarks Used by Amazon Sellers
- Difference Between ® and ™
- Benefits of a Trademark
There are truckloads of brands operating inside every product niche, selling similar types of products. There are several ways in which brands can distinguish themselves from the competition, and gain a bigger market share, such as by offering superior products and customer services, discounts, special deals and more. But how do customers recognize the brands which they prefer? That is where Trademarks come into play.
What is Trademark?
A trademark is a special badge or a certificate provided by the government, that sets your product or service apart from the rest of the crowd. It can be in the form of a cool symbol, catchy phrase, creative design, or a mix of these elements. Think of it as a powerful shield that defends your business’s brand and helps customers recognize where their goods or services come from. In the legal world, Trademarks are classified as Intellectual Property (IP), and a host of IP Protection legislations rolled out by governments of various developed countries ensure that no one else can use your trademark without your permission.
To secure a trademark, you must register it with the local government agency of the country you’re doing business in. Once it’s officially registered, you get to have all the bragging rights and exclusive control over how your trademark is used for your products or services. You can pursue legal action against any sneaky copycats using a mark similar to yours, and causing confusion among your hard-built customer-base are in big trouble and may face legal action from you.
Trademark Requirements for Amazon
While Trademark registration is not a requirement to sell on Amazon, a Trademark is nonetheless required to enroll in Amazon Brand Registry, a measure introduced by Amazon to protect Intellectual Property (IP) of sellers on its platform.
Amazon Brand Registry can provide several benefits, such as:
- It helps protect your brand from potential intellectual property infringement by giving you more control over your product listings and the ability to report infringing listings.
- Brand Registry allows you to edit your product listings, and control the images and videos displayed on your product pages, which goes a long way in improving the quality and consistency of your brand’s messaging.
- The program gives you access to Amazon’s Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products advertising programs, which can help increase visibility and sales for your products.
- Amazon also provides early access to some of its brand-new analytics tools and features, which help sellers in gaining a competitive advantage.
- Brand Registry provides access to robust analytics on your products’ performance, including sales, customer feedback, and search terms, which can help you create a winning business strategy in your particular niche.
What are the Types of Trademarks?
There are 5 types of Trademarks while registering products inside USA through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Let’s explore each type one by one:
1. Generic Trademark
A generic trademark refers to a type of product or service that it is no longer eligible for trademark protection. For example, “escalator” and “thermos” were once trademarks, but they are now considered generic terms. These are weakest type of trademarks which do not offer any sort of copyright protection, and are always turned down by the USPTO.
2. Descriptive Trademark
Descriptive trademarks describe a characteristic or quality of a product or service. These trademarks are generally weak and are only eligible for protection if they have acquired “secondary meaning,” meaning that consumers have come to associate the term with a specific brand. An example of a descriptive trademark is “Vision Center” for an eyeglass store.
3. Suggestive Trademark
Suggestive trademarks refer to a characteristic or quality of a product or service without directly describing it. These trademarks are stronger than descriptive trademarks and may be eligible for protection without requiring “secondary meaning.” An example of a suggestive trademark is “Netflix” for a streaming service.
4. Arbitrary Trademark
An arbitrary trademark is a term that has no connection to the product or service it is used to identify. These trademarks are considered strong and are eligible for protection without requiring “secondary meaning.” An example of an arbitrary trademark is “Apple” for a technology company.
5. Fanciful Trademark
A fanciful trademark is a term that has been invented specifically to serve as a trademark and has no other meaning. These trademarks are considered the strongest and are eligible for protection without requiring “secondary meaning.” Examples of fanciful trademarks include “Kodak” and “Xerox.”
Types of Trademarks Used by Amazon Sellers
Amazon sellers mostly use one among the three popular types of trademarks to establish and protect their brand on this platform. Let us take a look at them:
1. Word Mark
Word Mark consists of a word or phrase, such as a business name or slogan, that is used to identify a seller’s products or services. It is a simple and effective way for a seller to protect their brand name on Amazon. Users can file for registering a brand name, slogan, or a tag line. That registration applies only to the words themselves, as the particular fonts or writing styles cannot be trademarked.
2. Design Mark / Logo
A design mark is a graphic symbol or design that represents a seller’s brand on Amazon. The design/logo might comprise words, letters, numbers or design elements. Usually, the brand name is incorporated inside the logo.
3. Combination Mark
A combination mark includes both a word and a design element, such as a logo or symbol. This type of trademark can be particularly effective for sellers looking to establish a strong visual identity on Amazon. For intellectual property rights purposes, users are mostly recommended to create combination marks for their brands on Amazon.
Difference Between ® and ™
Everyone has come across the symbols ® and ™ whenever viewing a unique brand, but many people do not know what they mean, or what is the difference between them. Both of these symbols represent the particular stage in which the trademark status of a particular brand currently is:
Registered refers to a trademark which has been successfully registered, after undergoing all the necessary requirements and paperwork by the concerned government agencies.
Trademark symbol represents a brand who has filed for the trademark status, but has not been approved yet by the concerned regulatory watchdogs.
Benefits of a Trademark
Registered Trademarks offer various benefits to businesses and organizations. Here are some of them:
- Trademarks help in legally protecting the brand name, logo, or other marks used in conjunction with the owner’s business. This protection helps in preventing competing companies from utilizing identical marks that can cause customer confusion.
- Trademarks provide the owners with exclusive rights to use their mark in connection with the goods or services they offer.
- Any copycats, and violators of registered Trademarks can be legally sued for large sums in punitive damages. This can act as a deterrent to potential infringers by making it clear that the owner is serious about protecting their brand. This can help prevent others from using the owner’s mark or a similar mark without permission.
- The exclusive use of a Trademark can help establish a strong brand identity and prevent others from using a similar mark to benefit from the owner’s hard-earned reputation.
- Trademark registration can increase the perceived value of a brand, by developing a strong brand identity and establishing consumer brand recognition. This helps a brand to enter new markets and boost sales.
Trademarks are hugely beneficial to any type of business, as they provide legal protections for Intellectual Property. Amazon does not bound sellers to have trademarks in order to sell on its platform, but sellers must register trademarks in their respective countries of business in order to gain access to Amazon Brand Registry. Brand Registry provides critical protections against IP theft, fraudulent listings, and listings hijacking, among other. There are a number of other perks and advantages that Amazon Brand Registry bestows on sellers, which make it worthwhile to go through the trouble of trademark registration.