With the rise of social media advertising on platforms such as Facebook® Marketplace and Amazon® emerging as the leading online retailer, trademark owners are finding it increasingly difficult to monitor third-parties that are misusing their trademarks and copyrights or improperly selling their branded merchandise on these sites.
To address these rising concerns, Amazon recently launched Brand Registry 2.0 to aid trademarks owners in their efforts to monitor infringing uses of their trademarks and copyrighted content sold and promoted on its site. Once a trademark registration has been received, the brand owner may enroll in the Brand Registry program. Enrollees are afforded a number of benefits such as access to text and image search tools to assist in identifying and removing listings found to be infringing or counterfeit. In addition, suspensions of seller accounts are likely to be more prompt.
Likewise, the Commerce and Ads IP Tool provided by Facebook assists trademark owners in policing the misuse of their marks in Facebook advertisements. The Facebook tool allows registered user the ability to detect infringing uses of their registered trademarks and other intellectual property across marketplace listings and other Facebook ads. The tool is not only limited to ads that may show up in the trademark owner’s news feed or within the owner’s local geographic region, but Facebook-wide.
Unfortunately, neither platform is without its limitations. Both platforms restrict program participation to trademark owners of registered trademarks, completely disregarding any common law trademark rights that might exist. In addition, Facebook further limits IP enforcement rights to word marks only.
For trademark owners with unregistered trademarks, Amazon® and Facebook® will continue to process their complaints. However, these owners will not reap the benefits of the extra search and monitoring tools available to registered participants. In addition, response times for both platforms have been found to be much slower.
Given these restrictions, if you are a trademark owner that has not obtained a trademark registration but desires to benefit from these new enforcement tools, you should strongly consider registering your trademark(s). In addition, because of the additional limitations of Facebook regarding word marks, you should strongly consider an additional registration for a standard character mark as well.
If you are interested in having a more detailed discussion about protecting your brand’s trademark, contact Cooper Legal for a consultation and let’s secure your rights in your brand.
This blawg is provided by the firm for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice. If you have any questions related to your specific business needs, schedule your legal consultation today.