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New Amazon Guidance on Brand Compatibility

Amazon
New Amazon Guidance on Brand Compatibility

Amazon issued new guidance to help sellers avoid IP issues when specifying product compatibility with trademarked brands.

“We are making changes to our Intellectual Property Policy to clarify how you should indicate the compatibility of your products with a product of a different brand, for example, a charging cord that works with a specific brand of phone,” Amazon announced on Seller Central on Wednesday.

“If you list such products, please review your product titles for compliance with the new recommendations for the way it should be written to indicate compatibility,” it continued. “To visit the updated Intellectual Property Policy for Sellers – FAQ about Trademarks program policy page, click here.”

Here’s an excerpt from the cached policy page showing how the section on product-compatibility used to read:

“When making truthful statements that a product is compatible with a trademarked product. For example, if a seller offers a specialty cable that is compatible with the Kindle E-reader, and states that the cable is “compatible with Kindle,” this generally is not trademark infringement, as long as the statement is true and not confusing. Note, however, that “similar to” claims (such as stating that goods are “similar to Kindle” or “better than Kindle”) are against Amazon listing policy.”

And here’s an excerpt from the current policy page to show how that section now reads:

“When making truthful statements that a product is compatible with a trademarked product. For example, if you offer a cable that is compatible with the Kindle e-reader, you can use the brand name “Kindle” to indicate that compatibility in the text of your detail page. You cannot use a logo to indicate compatibility, only the brand name. Any statement you make about compatibility must be true.

“If you want to indicate the compatibility of your product with a product of a different brand in the product title, please build your product title as follows, taking also account of the Amazon Brand Name Policy. If you do not apply this format to your product title, your listing may be removed as potentially trademark infringing.

Title format for branded compatible products

“[Your Product’s Brand Name] + [Product Name] + “for”/”compatible with”/”fits”/”intended for” + [Brand of Main Product] + [Main Product Name] + (other product title elements, if applicable)”

Examples:

  • Xandu USB charging cable, compatible with AmazonBasics speaker
  • TonTon Sleeve intended for Kindle Fire

Title format for generic compatible products

“Generic” + [Product Name] + “for”/”compatible with”/”fits”/”intended for” + [Brand of Main Product] + [Main Product Name] + (other product title elements, if applicable)

Example:

Generic Replacement filter for AmazonBasics Waterfilter A3

You can find a link to the new policy and read sellers’ reactions on Amazon.com Seller Central. Have you run into trademark issues when describing product compatibility in your listings?

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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