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Protect Your Amazon Trademark & Business

  1. Part 1 – Trademarks:
  2. Part 2 – Patents:
    1. Step 1 – Types of Patents:
    2. Step 2 – Patent Duration and Expiry:
    3. Step 3 – Searching Patent Databases:
    4. Step 4 – Examples of Common Patented Amazon Products:
    5. Step 5 – How to Confirm if a Product is Patented:
    6. Step 6 – Selling Patented Products on Amazon:
  3. Wrapping Up

Full Video

Video Blog Script

Have you ever wondered if the products you are selling on Amazon could be patented or trademarked? As an Amazon seller, it’s crucial to educate yourself on intellectual property rights to avoid issues.

In this article, I’m going to explain exactly what patents and Amazon Trademark are, why they matter so much for ecommerce businesses, and how you can search existing registered patents and trademarks properly.

A trademark protects brand names and logos. For example, the Nike “Swoosh” logo and slogan “Just Do It” are protected trademarks that cannot be legally used by other companies. Amazon Trademark make sure customers can identify brands easily.

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A patent provides protection for functional product designs and features. For example, a unique baby stroller fold mechanism could be patented, meaning no other company could reproduce and sell that same mechanism without permission. Patents encourage innovation by giving inventors exclusive rights.

Amazon Trademark

Infringing on an existing patent or Amazon Trademark can lead to serious legal and financial consequences for Amazon sellers. You could face lawsuits, have your listings removed, or even be permanently banned from selling on Amazon.

That’s why it’s so important to verify that the brands and products you sell are not already patented or trademarked. I’ll teach you exactly how to perform those searches properly later in this video.

For now, let’s start by going over some key facts about Amazon trademark.

Part 1 – Amazon Trademark:

Protect Your Brand Reputation: Understanding Amazon Trademark

As an Amazon seller, your brand reputation is everything. Getting your product listings removed or your account suspended due to trademark infringement can destroy your business. That’s why verifying trademarks first is crucial.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark registers a company’s brand name, slogan, logo or other identifiers to their products and services. Well-known examples include:

  • Apple®
  • Nike’s Swoosh®
  • Coca-Cola®
  • Amazon’s arrow from A to Z®

The goal is to establish brand recognition among customers while preventing confusing misuse by competitors. Trademarks also allow brand owners certain legal rights to protection against infringement.

Searching Trademarks Properly

Verifying if a potential brand name or product name is trademarked takes just minutes. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a free and simple search toolbar to check their databases. The same process applies in the UK using the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

For Amazon sellers specifically, it’s wise to check on key potential keywords too. Large brands have been known to trademark common terms and phrases to limit competitors on Amazon. For example, Beachbody® has registered “Portion Fix” while Apple has trademarks on “AirPods” and “iPod”.

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Attempting to use a trademarked brand name, slogan or product name in your Amazon listings without legal rights leads to issues. Amazon’s protections allow owners to report infringement and potentially get listings removed.

Building an entire Amazon storefront around a trademarked brand means starting completely over when caught – losing your rankings, reviews and traffic in the process.

With millions of trademarks registered globally across countless industries, verifying the status on your brands and products first is essential to avoid legal headaches. Let’s explore the world of patents next!

Part 2 – Patents:

Innovate Your Amazon Business: Understanding Patents

While trademarks protect brand identities, patents focus on safeguarding inventions. For Amazon sellers specifically, confirming whether your innovative product ideas and designs are truly unique in the market is key to long-term success.

What Does a Patent Do?

A patent gives inventors exclusive rights to new, useful and non-obvious product designs and functions. In exchange for publicly detailing the invention through illustrations, descriptions and claims, the inventor receives protected legal ownership for a set duration.

There are two main types of patents relevant for Amazon FBA businesses:

Utility Patent: Protects the functionality of processes, machines, articles, systems or improvements. Often applies to mechanisms, electronics or chemical formulas.

Design Patent: Protects the unique ornamental appearance and aesthetics like shapes, patterns, materials and configurations. Common for toys, apparel and household items.

Examples span virtually every conceivable product category sold on Amazon – from simple kitchen gadgets to complex aviation systems. Well-known examples include the first Zippo lighter, Polaroid instant camera, Microsoft’s windowing graphical interface and early Oral-B electric toothbrushes.

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Searching Patent Databases

Verifying if your potential new product concept aligns with an existing invention prevents wasted time and legal headaches. While individual country databases like USPTO and European Patent Office (EPO) should be checked, Google Patents offers a free global overview of registered utility and design patents including images, descriptions, owners and more in seconds.

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Understanding if and when relevant existing patents expire is also key context. Products with expired former patents often present prime market opportunities on Amazon as exclusivity lifts. We’ll explore advanced patent search strategies and pro tips in upcoming sections!

Step 1 – Types of Patents:

Understand The Two Key Patent Categories

You’ve likely heard talk of patents protecting inventions before. But what exactly does that mean and how does it apply to Amazon products? Mastering the two main patent types that impact ecommerce businesses is key.

Let’s explore Utility versus Design patents

Part 1 – Utility Patents 

A utility patent protects functional aspects of products and processes. Specifically, the unique way something works or how it operates. Common examples include:

✅ Mechanisms: The internal spring loading and switch mechanism allowing retractable pens to open and close at the click of a button.

✅ Formulas: Chemical makeup allowing spray foam insulation or construction adhesives to expand and solidify on application.

✅ Electronics: The proprietary process allowing touchscreen devices to respond to finger movements through layers of glass.

For Amazon sellers of gadgets, tools, or anything with precise engineering, understanding if similar utility functions are already patented is crucial. Replicating these protected technical designs leads to legal nightmares.

Part 2 – Design Patents 

Unlike utility, design patents focus solely on aesthetic appearance rather than functionality. Common examples include:

✅ Toys: The unique sculpting of a plastic doll’s face or outfit accessories.

✅ Furniture: The shape of a chair, table or shelf including construction style, materials used and embellishments.

✅ Apparel: An original print pattern splashed across the exterior of a t-shirt, bag or pair of shoes.

Even minor modifications like hem shape on a sleeve, added pigments in leather dyes or changing the angle of toy limbs alters the design enough to warrant new protection possibilities.

Mastering the core difference between utility and design helps frame your thinking around Amazon product selection and innovation opportunities. Both patent types stand to save inventors years of effort by preventing direct copying.

Step 2 – Patent Duration and Expiry:

Know Your Protection Periods

Patents seem complicated on the surface, but really come down to two critical questions – how long does protection last and when does it expire? Understanding the mandated time periods is key context for evaluating product opportunities.

Let’s explore patent protection durations

Two Decades of Rights

The gold standard of intellectual property security for inventors is the utility patent. Offered in the United States and globally through WIPO, utility patents safeguard function and mechanics for 20 years.

The protection clock begins ticking from the earliest date of filing. During this two decade monopoly window, the patented design or process legally cannot be replicated, manufactured or sold by any other individual or company without permission from the owner. Even licensing deals remain at the patent owner’s discretion.

After the 20 years of exclusivity expires, the invention enters the public domain. This opens the doors for anyone to legally leverage it in their own offerings without concern of infringement.

Faster Protection For Appearance

Design patents focus solely on protecting visual appearance rather than functional utility. Covering ornamental elements like shapes, edges, surface patterns and materials used, design patent duration is shorter in recognition of the faster evolution of stylistic trends.

In the United States, design protection caps at 15 years maximum from filing date while the UK offers longer 25 year monopolies. Like utility patents, expiration then opens commercialization opportunities to all.

Strategic Advantage
Understanding the patent protection periods gives Amazon sellers valuable context. Verifying when relevant utility and design patents expire allows you to prepare innovative differentiated products to help capture newly open categories.

Step 3 – Searching Patent Databases:

Master Patent Search Tools

Verifying if a product idea aligns with existing registered patents prevents wasted effort and legal headaches. While individual country databases like USPTO, European Patent Office (EPO), UK IPO and IP Australia should be checked, Google Patents and ESPACENET offer free condensed global overviews.

Let’s explore the top patent search engines

Google Patents As the largest search engine in the world, Google powers a free patent database alongside trademarks and generic web results. Conveniently consolidated into a single toolbar, sellers can search utility patents and design registrations globally including images, abstracts, dates and more.

While not comprehensive like government sources due to occasional indexing lags, Google’s interface allows efficient filtering by date, legal status, country, category and owner. This delivers an exceptional birds eye view of the most commercially relevant existing protections.

ESPACENET Offering more advanced search and analysis functionality than Google, ESPACENET grants free access to over 120 million patent documents across the globe. Grouped by country, recent years include links directly to full legal filings while older granted patent listings summarize with images and descriptions.

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Useful for Amazon sellers, ESPACENET allows searching patents specifically related to a particular company. For example, inputting “Duracell” provides an overview of patented battery innovations owned by the brand over decades. This reveals areas new sellers should avoid.

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TMView and Other Resources While focused on trademarks, the EU TMView database compiles registered design patents including images. Similarly, searching The Lens visualizes global patent landscapes for product categories using interactive maps summarizing ownership and relationships. Leverage every free tool possible during product research!

Conclusion Identifying relevant existing patents is easier than ever before using consolidated resources like Google and ESPACENET search to fuel your unique Amazon private label innovations.

Step 4 – Examples of Common Patented Amazon Products:

Learn From Known Cases

Seeing real-world examples opens your eyes to patents surrounding everyday items sold on Amazon. From unique toy designs to the latest high-tech gadgets, patents exist across all product categories.

Let’s explore some commonly patented Amazon best-sellers…

Toys and Games Creative toy vehicles, doll accessories, board games and more contain protected design elements. For example, early Matchbox cars with signature features launched the brand to stardom before competitors copied key visual details.

Recent examples include distinctive fidget spinners and self-balancing scooters during initial waves of growth popularity. Patents prevented direct replication empowering inventors like Xprite to lead categories.

Baby Items Versatile baby products balance function and form making both utility and design elements ripe for protection. Best-selling examples include the 4moms MamaRoo swing motion mechanisms, popular blooming baby milestone blanket knitting patterns andNUK orthodontic pacifier nipple shapes.

Electronics Endless electronics utility patents exist – from waterproof adhesives and materials enabling daily life fitness trackers to the latest quick charging processes inside smartphones. Even the internal gyroscope and touchscreen swiping mechanics powering Amazon’s latest Kindle offerings contain proprietary protected advances.

Home and Kitchen Iconic products woven into family homes for decades also leverage elaborate utility patents underneath – like George Foreman Grill rapid fat draining channels, Keurig pod coffee maker piercing needle chambers and Crockpot locking lid componentry.

However, just one altered angle, material variation or software tweak allows new market entrants to incremental improved versions when patents ultimately expired.

In closing, examples across Amazon prove that both product designs and functional mechanics receive intellectual property protection across all categories when truly pushing boundaries. Let innovation and healthy patent expiry guide your business!

Step 5 – How to Confirm if a Product is Patented:

Verify Protection Status

With billions in sales at stake, correctly confirming if an Amazon product is protected by active patents takes skill. Sellers must dig deeper than surface level assumptions to determine infringing risk.

Let’s explore smart validation tactics…

Look Beyond Appearances
A common mistake is assuming that the presence of multiple sellers manufacturing or selling what looks to be an identical product means no patents exist. However, variety alone does not equal freedom.

In reality, patents apply to specific technical implementations and design elements rather than an entire product category broadly. For example, while dozens of brands sell moisture wicking t-shirts on Amazon, a particular sleeve edge seam shape or proprietary chemical treatment formula may be exclusively patented, limiting manufacturing replication rights.

Search Beyond One Database Complicating matters, global patents registration systems remain fragmented by country. Just because no active patent appears on the United States USPTO database does not mean an equivalent protection right is not registered with WIPO or individual nations like Germany.

Only cross referencing global resources like Google Patents alongside key country specific databases provides a full picture. For example, the popular Fidget Spinner toy craze traces origins to a 2017 registered Chinese design patent that went mainstream on Amazon post-expiration in 2019 enabling the trend.

Consult Professionals Online patent search tools continue advancing, yet frequently miss newly filed registrations or struggle parsing complex legal terminology in applications. Paired with region limitations, sellers must consider hiring professional IP lawyers for advanced due diligence around high risk products.

While adding costs upfront, preventing massive infringement lawsuit damages down the line saves Amazon businesses. Moving forward without multiple validation opinions risks assumptions proving painfully naïve.

Step 6 – Selling Patented Products on Amazon:

Leverage Licenses Legally

You now understand critical patent validation tactics before manufacturing inventory. But what if your perfect product is actively protected? Does selling require stopping forever? Not necessarily.

Let’s explore legal sales options for patented items on Amazon…

Wait Patiently
Utility patents cap at 20 years protection maximum in the United States before expiring into public domain. Design patents last 15 years. Once lapsed, anyone can legally manufacture and sell patent-formerly protected products without concern.

Smart sellers track promising items nearing expiration dates through Google Patents and prepare launch plans to capture renewed categories. However, no shortcuts exist around active registrations.

Attempt Licensing Rather than directly replicating a protected product illegally, proactively contacting the owner to negotiate manufacturing and distribution licensing stands as the wisest path forward. Many companies gladly permit sales through approved channels in exchange for royalty payments.

For example, smaller accessory makers frequently gain rights to produce licensed addons for blockbuster brands like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation which enhance Amazon offerings. Even utility patent holders often permit licensing to expand commercial reach.

Pivot Creatively If licensing deals remain elusive, shift innovation efforts towards uncovered terrain. Study patented product weakness and envision solutions. Offer differentiated value through smart feature enhancements, bundling other products or via sustainability improvements.

For example, digital camera post-processing software one-upped giants like Kodak. Consumer drones avoided aerospace patent barriers by focusing recreational applications. And smartphone manufacturers substituted cords with wireless charging through creative workarounds.

In closing, where active patents exist, either wait patiently for protection to expire, license approved legal usage or innovate new paths. But never risk infringement. Smart pivots produce breakthrough Amazon products!

Wrapping Up

As we’ve explored today, taking Amazon Trademark and patents seriously is crucial for Amazon sellers. With Amazon’s global reach, avoiding infringement issues protects your business and peace of mind.

If you only remember three key points from this video, they should be:

  1. Always verify trademarks on potential brand names and product names before launch using the USPTO, IPO or TMview databases. Actively monitor any high risk keywords as well. Even inadvertent misuse triggers consequences.
  2. Search Google Patents or ESPACENET to spot conflicting utility and design patents to avoid painfully replicating protected inventions. Cross-check multiple databases, parsing legal terminology carefully.
  3. Once you’ve triple checked for conflicts, innovate intentionally on uncovered potential opportunities or licensed areas. If patents and trademarks exist, leverage legally or pivot creatively building on lessons learned.

While I can introduce you to the basics here today, speaking with experienced IP lawyers adds immense value before product selection and securing your own intellectual property. Minor upfront investments save massive headaches in the future.

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