Amazon Offers Brand Gating to Help Prevent Counterfeit Issues by Third-Party Sellers
The globalization of the Internet and tremendous growth of online sales have greatly benefitted manufacturer and retailers alike. But these advances come with their own challenges. Amazon’s focus on third-party resellers (fueling their ever-increasing growth), has sometimes undermined the trustworthiness of the resellers and products offered on its platform. Amazon created “brand gating” to minimize and ultimately eradicate the sale of counterfeit goods on Amazon. This process allows participating manufacturers to limit which resellers may offer their brands on Amazon.
How Brand Gating Works
Brand gating allows brands and manufacturers to control those who use their ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) and prevent unauthorized sellers from hijacking valid listings and driving down prices—not to mention seller ratings. Once a brand has been accepted into the brand gating process, resellers must provide Amazon with information specific to their past performance and must fulfill certain qualification requirements, like providing invoices for the purchase of relevant products in the past 90 days and obtaining and submitting written permission from the brand or manufacturer to offer the products on Amazon. The reseller must also pay an initial fee to Amazon in the amount of up to $1500 per brand. Sellers who violate gating provisions may lose their selling privileges, have funds withheld by Amazon, or suffer the destruction of any inventory in the possession of Amazon.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand that aside from these issues—authorization to resell the products and confirming the authenticity of any goods—Amazon is likely to remain neutral in all other manufacturer/reseller disputes that may arise. Moreover, given the restrictions on resell that naturally result from this process, participation in brand gating is likely best suited to those whose products are most often counterfeited, like luxury apparel and accessories and consumer electronics.
How Can My Brand Participate?
To participate in Amazon’s brand gating, manufacturers and/or brands should follow the following four steps: (1) register your trademark with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (“USPTO”) if you have not already done so; (2) enroll in Amazon’s brand registry program online; (3) Provide Amazon with a list of your most important and/or most often counterfeited ASINs to be gated; and (4) Provide Amazon with a list of authorized sellers for your brands. Joining the brand registry, alone, will not initiate this process. Rather, you should write to your local seller support contact, identify your desire to gate certain of your brands, and provided them all of the above information specific to your brand(s). While this process can take up to five weeks to complete, manufacturers/brands can speed up the process by prioritizing for Amazon those ASINs and resellers who require immediate action.
Key Takeaways on Amazon’s Brand Gating Service
Amazon implemented the “brand gating” program to help prevent counterfeit issues on Amazon by:
allowing brand owners to register for and participate in the process by providing information on authorized resellers, and other information for vetting the legitimacy of third-party sellers;
requiring resellers to pay an initial fee to be allowed to sell product of a brand registered under the brand gating program; and
requiring resellers to provide information specific to performance and resale qualification requirements.
For more information on trademark counterfeiting enforcement, see our Anti-Counterfeiting & Enforcement Services and Industry Focused Legal Solutions pages.
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