John Herrman wrote an article the New York Times titled All Your Favorite Brands, From BSTOEM to ZGGCD: How Amazon is causing us to drown in trademarks.

« These “pseudo-brands,” as some Amazon sellers call them, represent a large and growing portion of the company’s business.  »

Amazon Brand Registry

«  Amazon’s Marketplace has made it easy to sell almost anything to almost anyone, resulting, perhaps predictably, in frequent reports of counterfeit items, misleading listings and dangerous products. Among Amazon’s numerous and wide-ranging efforts to address seller and customer concerns is Brand Registry. First created in 2015, and opened widely in 2017, Brand Registry was pitched to brand owners as a way to combat counterfeits, and to control how their brands appear on Amazon in general — even if they don’t sell there. »

« “For brand owners, enrolling provides you with powerful tools to help protect your trademarks, including proprietary text and image search and predictive automation,” the company declares. It gives owners control over product listings that contain their products, and the ability to protect themselves against unauthorized sellers using their names. Crucially, Amazon says on its site, “it gives you more access to advertising solutions, which can help you increase your brand presence on Amazon,” as well as to “utilize the Early Reviewer Program to gain initial reviews on new products” — a sanctioned method for improving a product’s search result. »

« If you’re feeding a brand-new listing into the Amazon machine, in other words, and doing so without a pre-existing brand or customers, getting into Brand Registry is extremely important. To achieve real and lasting success on Amazon, it’s vital.  »

«  As of 2017, it also requires a registered trademark.»

Clogging the USPTO

« “The trademark volume has absolutely exploded over the last five years,” said Robert Reading of CompuMark, the trademark analytics firm. “Last year, 14 percent of all U.S. trademarks were filed by Chinese applicants. The year before that it was 10 percent.” Most of the time, he said, trademark registrations tend to originate from larger firms filing for many marks, though that does not appear to be the case in China. “Very few companies are filing for more than one application,” Mr. Reading said. »

« According to CompuMark’s analysis, he said, “these tens of thousands of applications actually have a much higher registration rate than the major U.S. law firms representing large U.S. companies.” Their success in getting approved can likely be credited to the names: Compared to something descriptive, or familiar, or to which a registrant is emotionally attached, a completely novel application — he used the example of an application covering balls for ballpoint pens under the mark “bYwxbYjb” — will just “fly through.” Other theories for the rise include monetary incentives provided by the Chinese government for obtaining foreign intellectual property rights, or a concerted effort to clog the U.S.P.T.O. »

« Speaking to a House subcommittee in 2019, the U.S.P.T.O. commissioner for trademarks, Mary Boney Denison, outlined what she called “Emerging Threats to the Integrity of the Trademark System and the Impact on American Consumers and Businesses.” Among them was the deluge of trademark applications. “In recent years,” she said, “the U.S.P.T.O. has seen a significant increase in the number of applicants who are not fulfilling their legal and ethical obligations to file accurately and in good faith, particularly with respect to claims that the mark is in use in commerce.” »

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