As of 31 December 2020, the transition period comes to an end, and the United Kingdom will officially leave the European Union. As a result, we enter 2021 with a complex range of issues and far-reaching implications facing Amazon sellers and vendors in both the EU and the UK. One of these issues is intellectual property and the enforcement of trademarks.
Brexit means there will no longer be harmonised protection for EU brands in the UK and vice versa. In order to avoid disruption to trade, minimise costs and legal issues, and to retain your protection and rights, brands selling on Amazon should take action as soon as possible. The course of action will depend on where your business is located and where you plan to sell in the future. Here is the latest advise from Amazon.
EU Brand Registry businesses
Amazon reached out to all EU Brand Registry members at the beginning of December. Since the UK IPO is creating a comparable UK trademark for all right holders with an existing EU trademark, Amazon will be automatically adding a new UK trademark to your Amazon Brand Registry account. This will ensure that you continue to enjoy the protection and brand-building benefits of Amazon Brand Registry without any impact from Brexit.
To receive this benefit, ensure you have added all trademarks to your Amazon Brand Registry account (including any existing UK trademarks through these steps:
- Log in to your Brand Registry account.
- Click on the “Brand Registry Support” link on the Brand Registry dashboard.
- Select the “Update your brand profile” dropdown.
- Click on “Add additional trademarks.”
- Complete the form provided.
Any additions after 2020 will require dual registration in the UK and EU, if you plan to sell in multiple locales.
UK businesses and brands
On the UK side, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has a full list of Brexit changes to intellectual property and recommended actions for Rights Owners and businesses on their website here.
There is no impact for brands doing business in the UK that are already enrolled in Brand Registry with a UK IPO trademark OR with both UK IPO and EU IPO trademark. However, if brands are currently enrolled in Brand Registry with only a EUIPO trademark, then post 1 Jan 2021, these brands will no longer be able to report potential infringements in the Amazon UK store. This is because all existing EU Trademarks and designs will not be valid in the UK. Reports of potential infringements in the Amazon.co.uk store will require a valid UK IPO trademark. Hence, brands will need to update in Brand Registry the comparable UK trademark that the UK IPO is creating for all brands with an existing EU trademark.
From the UKIPO website: “From the 1 January 2021, EUTMs will no longer protect trademarks in the UK. Under the Withdrawal Agreement Act, on 1 January 2021, the IPO will create a comparable UK trademark for all right holders with an existing EU trademark. Existing EUTMs will still protect trademarks in EU member states. UK businesses can still apply to the EU Intellectual Property Office for a EUTM. There will be no changes to UK-registered trademarks as a result of the UK leaving the EU.”
Specific information for IP protection can be found on Amazon’s Brexit-related help pages. Sellers can access this information in Seller Central’s Brexit updates. Vendors can access vendor-specific information in Vendor Central’s Brexit updates. If your business needs more specific help or you wish to enlist our account management services, please contact us.