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Can I Enroll In The Amazon Brand Registry Without A Trademark?

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Selling your products online and on Amazon greatly expands your potential customer base. It also increases your risk of counterfeiters and knock offs. Having a trademark and enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry can be a huge step toward protecting your brand on the Amazon platform. 

Amazon has stopped 2.5 million bad accounts from publishing questionable listings and blocked 6 million suspicious listings. The brands that are registered in the Amazon Brand Registry enjoy this protection and a 99% reduction in suspected infringements after joining. There’s a dedicated team of investigators that work 24 hours a day and seven days a week to stop potential infringers. 

If you sell on Amazon, joining the registry is a smart way to protect your online business. However, you cannot enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry without a trademark. Having a trademark does more than enable you to register with Amazon. It also lets you protect your brand and company goodwill from those who would seek to profit from it without your permission. 

Amazon Brand Registry Trademark Guidelines

To be eligible to enroll in the Amazon Registry, you must have an active text or image-based trademark. It also needs to be registered in the country where you want to register and be one of the accepted countries.

Only the brand owner can enroll a trademark. An authorized agent must have the owner enroll the brand first and then add the authorized user as an additional user.  

Your registered trademark must appear on your product or its packaging. You’ll need to have your trademark registration number that you were provided when you registered your trademark. Finally, you’ll need to indicate to Amazon what product categories you intend to sell under your brand. 

Can I Sell On Amazon Without Joining the Brand Registry?

Yes, you can sell on Amazon without joining the brand registry. However, it does come with a few risks. The most common is having your listings hijacked by the competition selling counterfeit or knock-off products. 

Another common problem is low-cost manufacturers selling a similar product at a reduced price. These two issues can result in category saturation. The only way to compete is with dramatic price drops to remain competitive. 

Amazon Brand Registry Cost

Registering for the Amazon Brand Registry doesn’t require payment. However, you do need a trademark, and this will require you to pay costs. Trademark registration fees can vary in cost, depending on the class of protection that you’re securing. Expect to pay $250 to $400 in fees to obtain your trademark. 

You can only file one mark per application. If you have multiple marks, you’ll need to file an application for each one. For example, Nike would need to file an application for the company name “Nike”, one for its swoosh symbol, and a third for its slogan “just do it”. 

The fee is also charged per class. So an application can be for a single trademark that represents multiple categories of goods. However, you’ll pay the filing fee for each class. There are also additional fees if your initial filing application isn’t complete and ready for review. 

How To Get A Trademark For Amazon Brand Registry

Your trademark protects your brand, which is the identifying mark that lets customers know where a particular product comes from. The first step to applying for a trademark is to decide on your identifying mark. This should be done with care since not all trademarks are registrable for protection. 

Once you’ve chosen your mark, perform a search for similar trademarks. You won’t be able to register yours if someone else has already claimed a similar trademark for related goods or services. 

Prepare Your Application 

Create an account on the USPTO.gov website, fill out the online application, and pay the processing fee. Check your application status at least every six months to ensure you don’t miss a deadline. 

Approval or Denial 

When the USPTO approves an application, it gets published in the “Official Gazette and sends you a notice. Anyone who believes that your new trademark infringes on theirs has 30 days to object. 

The reviewing USPTO attorney may choose to deny your application instead of approving it. They can also ask for further clarification and documentation. This will extend the length of time the application process takes. 

Timeline 

Applying for a trademark is not a quick process. It takes on average 13 to 18 months to achieve an official trademark registration. It can take even longer, depending on the situation. However, at a minimum, expect registration to take a year. With that being said, there is no time better than today to start the process so you can protect the brand you’ve worked so hard to build on the world’s largest e-commerce platform.

What If My Trademark Is Pending?

If you would like to join the Amazon registry with a pending trademark, it’s by invitation only in the United States and India. To join the pilot program, you need to register your interest by joining the waitlist

For consideration, you’ll need to have a pending trademark registration in the US or India, an active Amazon Seller Central or Vendor Central account, and not already be enrolled in the Brand Registry with a registered trademark. The Amazon team will review your request and contact you when you can start your Brand Registry application. 

Experienced Amazon Intellectual Property Attorneys

The application process for obtaining a trademark is an expensive and lengthy one. It’s highly advisable to hire an experienced attorney to assist you. This will help you avoid many pitfalls that people fall into when they are inexperienced with trademark registration. 

Your attorney will perform the necessary searches to prevent you from attempting to register a trademark that infringes on another. They will also assist you with preparing your application so that it’s complete, avoiding additional fees. Finally, they can represent you should you need to appeal a denial or defend a claim of infringement. 

After you have your trademark, your attorney can assist with defending your trademark protection and ensuring you retain your trademark through timely renewals. 

Become Eligible for The Amazon Brand Registry

If you’re ready to start selling on Amazon, you can do so without needing to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry. Registering a trademark enables you to register with the Amazon Registry and provides you with an extra layer of protection. Schedule a free consultation today and let our team of experienced lawyers help you register your trademark.

Source: https://arapackelaw.com/trademarks/enroll-amazon-brand-registry-without-trademark/

Start Ups

International footballer Chris Smalling invests ‘six figure sum’ in Virtue Drinks, a global clean energy drink startup

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Rahi Daneshmand , founder of Virtue Drinks

ROMA AS and England National football star, Chris Smalling, has injected a six-figure sum into Virtue Drinks, a London-based brand that’s on a mission to clean up the energy drinks market. It’s the sixth ethical investment Smalling has made in the last year, demonstrating his determination to publicly support sustainable products.

Established in 2016, the multi-award winning brand, Virtue Drinks, creates clean energy drinks which are all natural, with zero sugar or calories. They have two ranges available globally, Virtue Clean Energy and Virtue Yerba Mate, exporting to leading retailers in 30 countries.

Smalling says: “Virtue has shaken up the industry and made a brilliant product that changes the game. I’m excited to be part of the journey. Why would you drink unhealthy energy drinks when Virtue exists?”.

COVID-19 has accelerated a global trend toward healthy living, with consumers rethinking their eating and drinking habits. More people are scrutinising product ingredients, shifting from sugary or artificial energy drinks, with high amounts of synthetic caffeine, to clean alternatives.

London born entrepreneur, Rahi Daneshmand, launched Virtue Drinks in 2016, after looking for a clean energy drink himself. Having avoided energy drinks post-university, whilst constantly trying to find ways to improve his energy levels, he felt there’d be a lot of people also looking for a natural pick-me-up, with zero sugar or calories.

Daneshmand says: “We have very high aspirations, with plans to bring Virtue to every store where you might find traditional energy drink brands. Each can of Virtue gives customers the same amount of natural caffeine as the leading energy drink or coffee, without any sacrifice on taste and none of the artificial chemicals.”

Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/01/international-footballer-chris-smalling-invests-six-figure-sum-in-virtue-drinks-a-global-clean-energy-drink-startup/

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British low-alcohol spirits startup CleanCo lands €7.8 million to promote ‘hangover-free drinking’ internationally

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British premium low-alcohol spirits startup, CleanCo, has secured around €7.8 million in funding as investors and consumers reveal an insatiable thirst for hangover-free drinking. The latest investment takes the total now raised by the business to around €10.2 million.

The company within the “nolo” (no- or low- alcohol) category received the cash injection from existing and new gold-stamped investors including: Ursula Burns, board member of Uber and former board member of Diageo, and Stonebridge PLC, a digital-first consumer brand investment firm set up by DTC entrepreneur James Cox, who shall also advise the company on its future growth plans.

Providing people with a healthier alternative to traditional tipples, CleanCo has cultivated a loyal ‘sober-curious’ following of over 50,000 customers in just 15 months with its authentic taste and ‘cheeky-luxe’ positioning.

Recording +580% uplift in sales since the start of ‘Dry January 2021’ and +1419% YoY, the low-abv spirits business founded by TV personality and entrepreneur, Spencer Matthews  with the support of ex-director of the Gin Guild, Justin Hicklin, who acts as Chairmain. CleanCo uses traditional distilling methods to create low-alcohol spirits, and entered the market in November 2019 with CleanGin, followed by CleanRum in May 2020, both at 1.2% ABV. 

The fresh funds raised in its latest financing push will support the brand’s international expansion, including plans to launch a number of significant new markets in H1 2021. The new funds will also allow for ‘significant’ marketing investment in the UK to increase brand awareness. 

“Nobody wakes up saying “I wish I drank more last night,” explained co-founder Matthews, who has been sober since 2018. “Anyone can have a good reason to avoid or reduce their intake of alcohol. After a sub-par 2020, many of us will start 2021 with a sore head, coupled with fresh resolve and ambition to change destructive habits. We want more drinkers to be aware that there are choices when it comes to drinking high- or low-strength alcohol. At CleanCo, we’re offering an easy transition with quality and credible replacements – without compromising on taste or social experience.”

The UK producer of spirits has also just released its first ready-to-drink, canned cocktail range, featuring 0.5% ABV twists on classic serves. CleanRum & Cola is made using traditional Jamaican rum techniques and is said to deliver undertones of caramel and cayenne pepper, paired with ‘premium cola’. Meanwhile, CleanGin & Tonic offers a ‘crisp botanical blend’ of juniper, grapefruit, cardamom, mint, ginger and cinnamon. The London-headquartered company also plans to release a vodka later this year.

“Our concept is absolutely in line with market trends, as people look to change their drinking habits and as health conscious consumers consider their options,” said Justin Hicklin, Chairman of CleanCo.

To create low or no alcohol beverages, manufacturers often replace the alcohol with sugar, but to reduce the sugar and retain full flavour is challenging, and unique to CleanCo, in a closely guarded and developing process, which Hicklin reveals only as a “multiplicity of distillations.”

Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/01/british-low-alcohol-spirits-startup-cleanco-lands-e7-8-million-to-promote-hangover-free-drinking-internationally/

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Munich-based HR scaleup Personio lands €103.5 million Series D funding and a €1.4 billion valuation

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Munich-based Personio, the all-in-one HR platform, today announces approx. €103.5 million of new and preemptive Series D funding in an investment round that values the business at around €1.4 billion.

The new funding will accelerate further the scaleup’s international expansion, supporting its ambition of becoming Europe’s leading HR platform for SMEs. It follows a strong year of growth for the business in 2020, which saw it double revenues despite adverse market conditions.

Founded in 2015, Personio offers an all-in-one HR software for small- and medium-sized companies with 10 to 2,000 employees. Its mission is to make HR processes as transparent and efficient as possible so human resources team members can focus on the most valuable assets in the company: the people. Personio’s software includes human resources, recruiting and payroll and supports all core HR processes every business needs to do. Personio is already helping more than 3,000 SMEs across Europe unlock their productive potential by digitizing and automating their people operations.

The latest funding was led by existing investor Index Ventures, which has previously supported high-profile software companies including Slack, Dropbox and Zendesk to their IPO. All of Personio’s other existing investors – Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Northzone, Global Founders Capital and Picus – participated in this latest funding round.

They have also been joined by Meritech, which has a long-standing track record of backing highly successful SaaS companies, including Salesforce, where they were the first outside investor, as well as recent high-flyers Datadog, Snowflake and UiPath.

The funding round comes only twelve months after the business received around €67.6 million Series C funding, in a round led by Accel. The new capital will enable Personio to increase its expansion across Europe and focus on the further development of its cloud-based software, as it builds Europe’s leading HR operating system for recruiting, personnel administration and payroll for small and medium-sized companies.

Personio’s plans for the coming year include further enhancing the product’s core capabilities, launching the Personio Marketplace with new integrations in Q1, continuing fast growth across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and doubling down its investments in markets that the business entered in 2020 such as Spain, the UK and Ireland, the Nordics and Benelux. In 2021 it will also enter new markets, including France and Italy. In additional, it planes to double its international headcount from 500 to 1000 by the end of 2021, across its four offices in Munich (HQ), Madrid, London and Dublin, where its new international sales and engineering hub has been established.

While the funding also provides the option for further acquisitions, such as the purchase of Rollbox in 2019, there are currently no M&A activities planned and the focus remains on continued strong organic growth.

Hanno Renner, co-founder and CEO of Personio commented: “While the past year has proven difficult for many industries and businesses, it has at the same time accelerated the digitization of small and mid-sized businesses. It has also showcased the important role of HR teams, especially while so many of us continue to work remotely. We are grateful for a strong year in which we could grow to serve over 3,000 European SMEs. By further expanding our platform, we’ll continue to support our customers in tackling their current challenges and beyond.”

“This preemptive investment comes earlier than we had anticipated, as we’re still well funded from our previous round in January 2020. Such strong interest and support from our investors demonstrates not only the value of Personio’s offering, but also the huge potential the business has for further development and growth in the future. We are only scratching the surface of the market potential.”

Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures and Personio Board Member said: “SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, employing 100 million people across the continent, but it is also a sector that has been neglected by software companies focused predominantly on large enterprises. Personio changes that, having created a set of powerful tools tailored to address the needs of small businesses. Under the leadership of the company’s co-founder Hanno Renner, Personio has quickly become one of the most impactful and impressive businesses in Europe, and we’re thrilled to be working with him and the team as they scale and respond to rising demand for their products.”

Alex Clayton, General Partner at Meritech Capital and Personio’s newest Board Member said: “We have had the pleasure of working with some of the most successful SaaS companies in the world, and given Personio’s success over the past five years and the immense market potential, we strongly believe in Personio’s ability to build an equally successful and impactful business. After many great discussions with Hanno over recent years, we are now excited to be joining the journey.”

The latest valuation places Personio among the most valuable private software companies in Europe as it joins the likes of UiPath, Revolut, Deliveroo or Klarna in the ranks of European startups with a valuation of more than $1 billion – the ‘unicorns’.

Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/01/munich-based-hr-scaleup-personio-lands-e103-5-million-series-d-funding-and-a-e1-4-billion-valuation/

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Mental health startup Spill raises €2.2 million to help companies emotionally support their employees over Slack

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Spill, a British startup that provides remote mental health support for companies through the workplace messaging tool ‘Slack’, today announces that it has raised €2.2 million in a seed round led by Ada Ventures. 

The rising demand for employee mental health support in 2020 drove rapid growth for Spill last year. After its founding in 2017 and relaunch in January 2020, Spill has grown from 0 to 100+ paying companies in less than 12 months, and counts Typeform, Bulb and Depop as clients.

New research by Spill and Censuswide found that 38% of tech sector workers have considered therapy for the first time this year. The data also indicates that the need for psychological support may be greater for startups: 44% of those at smaller companies (10-99 people) considered therapy for the first time this year, compared to 31% in larger companies (100+ people). More than 1 in 4 (26%) tech workers also felt their company had failed to provide adequate mental health support in the last year.

Previously a message-based therapy app for iOS and Android, Spill relaunched in January this year to provide all-in-one mental health support through Slack. Employees at companies signed up to Spill can book a video session with a qualified therapist in just three clicks. Alternatively, they can message a therapist and receive a considered reply by the next day, or browse mental health tools and content, all through Slack.

Spill employs over 30 therapists around the UK, who work remotely over video, phone or message. All are registered with the BACP, NCS, or an equivalent professional body, have at least 200 hours’ clinical experience, and a minimum three-year relevant degree. Among users who did a course of six therapy sessions, Spill was more effective at reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety than either NHS therapy or a course of antidepressants.

The fresh funds were raised from Ada Ventures, with partner Francesca Warner joining the Spill board, along with Seedcamp and the government’s Future Fund initiative. Spill will use the money to develop proactive tools that help to create a more psychologically considerate workplace, moving from mental health treatment towards prevention. The raise follows a pre-seed investment in 2019 led by Passion Capital.

Calvin Benton, Founder at Spill, said: “The events of the past year have made workplace mental health issues front of mind for many, but these are problems which have long needed solving. It’s vital that, in today’s knowledge-driven economy, workers have access to high-quality mental health support that’s barrier-free, stigma-free, and free at the point of use. And that’s exactly what Spill will be able to deliver dramatically more of with the help of this latest funding round, led by Ada Ventures. We’re excited to help more companies create environments where people feel secure, engaged, and fundamentally understood — which is not only the humane thing to do for the team, but it’s the smart thing to do for the business. ”

Francesca Warner, Founding Partner at Ada Ventures, said: “We’ve been looking to invest in a company tackling the mental health crisis our society faces for some time. We’ve struggled to find products that are accessible, affordable, effective, and used regularly. Spill’s product is all of these things. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to invest in this exceptional team and look forward to the product being available to millions of people in the years to come.”

Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/01/mental-health-startup-spill-raises-e2-2-million-to-help-companies-emotionally-support-their-employees-over-slack/

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