How to Protect Your Brand on Amazon

Brands that sell their products on Amazon face a variety of obstacles that impede their ability to market themselves efficiently. Frustrations range from being unable to make simple changes to listing details changed by typos or faulty information to needy or high maintenance sellers.  Fortunately, Amazon has a solution to help protect your brand from these type of hassles.

 

Amazon Brand Registry has been around for a long time and it’s probably something you haven’t heard of before unless your saw a random treat from a friend who was ripped off on Amazon.  The program exists to help brands protect their product listings and offer additional tools to optimize your listings for success.  Currently, any brand with a registered trademark can enroll in Amazon Brand Registry.

 

How do I get started?

Enrolling in Amazon’s brand registry program is fairly simple.  To begin the process, you’ll need to provide Amazon with the trademark registration number  for your brand, a list of product categories, a brand website, a list of countries where your products are manufactured and distributed and images of your brand’s logo, product and packaging.

 

Can I get help?

Amazon makes it easy with a simple walk-through fillable form where you can easily fill out all this information.  After you’re done, a verification code will be sent to the law office  that filed your trademark.  At this point, you’ll contact your attorney to retrieve the code and provide it to Amazon to finish the enrollment.

 

Brands that primarily work with a single seller inside the marketplace on Amazon to sell or distribute their wares can have their seller initiate the process on behalf of their brand.  Control of brand registry can be relinquished at any time.

 

How Am I Protected?

The benefits of brand registry include product listing product listing from other sellers, the potential for increased conversion rate and sales and an overall improvement in your Amazon experience.

 

What other benefits are there?

If you have ever spent time on  “Amazon Seller Central” updating a product listing, only to find that those updates aren’t showing up correctly, or were changed by another seller, knows the headache of opening a case with Amazon to fix the issue.  Brand Registry can resolve this problem by prioritizing information from the registered brand above the crowd of other sellers on the listing.

This means that you have control of your product’s details and presentation on Amazon.

Additionally, registered brands have the ability to add “Enhanced Brand Content” to their listings.  This offers more details to the consumer to review more information and details about the product they’re thinking about purchasing.

Not only does this added information please the eye, but we’ve also seen product conversion rates jump by 30% or more on product listings that feature the  “Enhanced Brand Content”.

 

Is this right for me?

For sellers who struggle with prolonged ad approval times for their products, we’ve seen ads for brand registered products be approved within 24 hours.  And don’t stress — adjustments can be made to ads without pausing the campaign, allowing sellers the flexibility they want.

 

Brand Registry is easy to set up and navigate for any seller wishing to improve their overall brand or experience with Amazon. In today’s ever changing, evolving marketplace where it’s easier than ever for other sellers to represent your brand inaccurately, Brand Registry offers protection and peace of mind.

Questions?  Call us today for a free consultation, or email us at: in @bayramoglu-legal.com or deniz@ bayramoglu-legal.com

USCIS Policy Manual Update: Medical Exams Now Valid For Two Years

USCIS Policy Manual Update: Medical Exams Now Valid For Two Years

USCIS is revising policy guidance for the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

The updated policy, which goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2018, will require applicants to submit a Form I-693 that is signed by a civil surgeon no more than 60 days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit. The Form I-693 would remain valid for a two-year period following the date the civil surgeon signed it. As such, USCIS is retaining the current maximum two-year validity period of Form I-693, but calculating it in a different manner to both enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693.

USCIS officers use Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to determine whether an applicant for an immigration benefit in the United States is inadmissible under the health-related grounds of inadmissibility. By specifying that the Form I-693 must be signed no more than 60 days before the applicant files the underlying application for which Form I-693 is required, the validity of the form is more closely tied to the timing of the underlying application.

Additionally, requiring submission of a Form I-693 that was signed no more than 60 days before the date the underlying application was filed may, in some cases, maximize the period of time Form I-693 will be valid while the underlying application is under USCIS review. Officers will still have the discretion, as they have always had, to request a new Form I-693 if they have reason to believe an applicant may be inadmissible on the health-related grounds. Delays in adjudicating the underlying application will also be reduced if fewer requests for updated Forms I-693 are necessary.

 

USCIS Is Now Using Digital Tablets to Administer The English Reading and Writing Tests During Naturalization Interviews

On Oct. 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands the use of tablets, allowing the device to be used for a greater amount of the application process. USCIS will be able to carry on in using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

Although the eligibility requirements and the subject material of the naturalization test have not changed, applicants are now using a stylus on a digital tablet in place of a paper application. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will carefully instruct applicants on how to use the tablets before giving the tests:

USCIS Is Now Using Digital Tablets to Administer The English Reading and Writing Tests During Naturalization Interviews  For the reading test, a sentence will appear on the tablet and the ISO will ask the applicant to read it.

For the writing test, several lines will appear on the tablet, replicating the appearance of a piece of blank paper. The ISO will read a sentence aloud and ask the applicant to write it on the tablet.

Applicants will continue to take the civics test verbally, without the tablet.

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID

New USCIS Policy Guidance for Requests for Evidence RFE and Notices of Intent to Deny NOID
immigration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made public a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) (PM) effective September 11, 2018, that gives guidance to USCIS adjudicators in their discretion to not approve applications/petitions without first having to issue a Request for Evidence RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny NOID when the required supporting documents are not included or the supporting documents do not prove eligibility for the requested benefit.

This updated guidance pertains to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA.  Due to continued litigation in California and New York, this new policy memorandum doesn’t change policies and practices that apply to DACA requests.

This new policy restores the power and discretion of USCIS adjudicators to be able to deny applications, petitions without first having to issue an RFE or NOID.  The policy will discourage frivolous or incomplete filings and should encourage petitioners, applicants, and requestors to submit fully documented applications/petitions.

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

-Fee Increase Consistent with the Consumer Price Index-

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.

The Top 10 Trademark Rulings Of 2017

The year 2017 has been an exciting twelve months for rulings in trademark law. Below are the top 10 most important cases you need to know.

10. In re General Mills IP Holdings II LLC

In August 2017, The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that General Mills would not be allowed to register the yellow Cheerios box as a trademark. General Mills attempted to trademark “the color yellow appearing as the predominant uniform background color” for boxes of “toroidal-shaped, oat-based breakfast cereal”. This rejection was mainly due to the yellow color being widely used by other competitor brands. General Mills chose not to appeal the ruling.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote that customers would not likely associate the yellow colored packaging as a “unique source”, as there are multiple cereal brands with the color yellow being the main color on the box.

The case number in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board is 86757390.

9. Deere & Co. v. FIMCO Inc.

In October 2017, there was a ruling made by a Kentucky federal judge who said that the green-and-yellow colors of John Deere tractors is a famous trademark, and that the similar colors used on a pesticide spray qualified as infringement.

Although many other companies use the same scheme of colors, the Kentucky federal judge said that customers will most likely be confused by other competitive companies who also use this color scheme.

The case number in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky is 5:15-cv-00105.

8. Twentieth Century Fox Television et al. v. Empire Distribution Inc.

In November 2017, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Fox did not violate trademark infringement law. The show “Empire” which runs on Fox network, was sued by a record label company that bears the same name.

The First Amendment protects many similar lawsuits like this case. To qualify for trademark infringement, Fox would have had to use “Empire” for a completely irrelevant reason, as well as mislead consumers.

In addition, the court rejected the argument that Fox had subjected itself to liability by using the name for promotional reasons, such as advertising. The court held that the First Amendment protects marks in artistic works as well as any promoting of those works.

This case is number 16-55577 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

7. Allstate Insurance Co. v. Kia Motors America Inc.

In November 2017, A federal jury in California ruled that Kia Motor Corp. infringed Allstate Insurance Co. Allstate Insurance Co. uses the name “Driverwise” as a program to reward good drivers., and Kia Motor Corp had a line of vehicle add-ons that they called “Drive Wise”.

The trial lasted 3 days. Jurors concluded that consumers would most likely confuse the two names. Kia first came out with their high-tech vehicle add-ons to 2017 model vehicles. Allstate has been using their reward program “Driverwise” for seven years.

Although the two products are completely different, Kia argues, jurors were in favor of Allstates closing argument. Allstate closes their argument with “They should pick their own name. It’s as simple as that.”

The case number in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is 2:16-cv-06108.

 6. Black & Decker Corp. et al. v. Positec USA Inc.

In September 2017, a federal judge from Illinois took away a fifty-four million trade dress infringement verdict won by Black & Decker Corp. against toolmaker Positec USA Inc.

The originally verdict took place in 2015.

In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois this is case number 1:11-cv-05426.

5. Booking.com BV v. Matal

In August 2017, A Virginia federal judge reversed a decision made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The original decision was that “Booking.com” could not be a trademark. In precedent, the “.com” added to any generic term makes it likely to be protected under the Lanham Act.

The Federal Circuit has long been rejecting trademark registrations for URLs like Mattress.com and Hotels.com

In this case, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, ruled that the addition of a TLD (top-level domain) can change a generic term into a descriptive one. Brinkema concludes that Booking.com meets the standard and therefore can be registered as a trademark.

In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia the case number is 1:16-cv-00425.

4. Elliott et al. v. Google

In May 2017, the Ninth Circuit shot down a case which tried to show “google” had become a generic verb. Chris Gillespie and David Elliot aimed to prove that google could not be protected under trademark law. The main question for this case was whether “google” had become a generic name consumer’s use for internet search engines.

In October 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari as Gillespie and Elliott appealed their case, urging the justices to offer “clarity” on the trademark implications of the “increasingly common” use of brand names as verbs.

The case number is 15-15809 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

3. Tiffany & Co. v. Costco Wholesale Corp.

In August 2017, A federal judge from New York awarded Tiffany & Co. Twenty-one-million-dollar in damages.  Costco Wholesale Corp and Tiffany & Co. have had an ongoing trademark battle for four years.

Costco was using the name “Tiffany” on diamond engagement rings. Although, Costco claims it was using it as shorthand for “Tiffany setting”. The District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled it as trademark infringement and counterfeiting in 2015.

Judge Swain’s August damages award was merely a last major step for the case at the district court level. This is only just setting the stage for what will likely be a greatly anticipated appeal by Costco to the Second Circuit.

The case number is 1:13-cv-01041, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

2. NantKwest Inc. v. Matal

In June 2017, The Federal Circuit upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s win-or-lose attorney fee policy. The case is about the Patent Act and the Lanham Act. It states that applicants who unsuccessfully file a “de novo” appeal to a district court, must pay the full cost amount of the proceeding, no matter who wins the case.

Critics argue that this is extremely expensive, and will only be affordable for wealthy applicants. Back in June, challenges to this policy were rejected by the Federal Circuit panel such as the “American rule” against fee-shifting.

In August 2017, without request from the parties, the appeals court agreed to rehear the case en banc.

The case number is 16-1794 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

1. Matal v. Tam

It was in June 2017 that The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Lanham Act’s ban on offensive trademark registration was unconstitutional. This put an end to a ten-year effort on using the rule against the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Every justice in the high court’s decision agreed in the finding. Among several occurrences in a thirty-nine-page opinion, one justice concluded that this amounts to unconstitutional discrimination against unpopular speech. Justice Alito continues to say, “this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.” Justice Alito also writes about how this provision offends one of the First Amendment principles. That principle being “Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend”.

The case number 15-1293 in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Cascades Projection LLC v. Epson America, Inc

On June 19th, 2017 patent holder, Cascades Projection LLC, urged a Federal Circuit panel to decide whether the America Invents Act’s inter partes reviews are constitutional.  An Inter partes review is an adversarial process used by the Patent and Trademark Office to analyze the validity of existing patents. Cascades Projection LLC argued that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in June 2017 to decide the question means that the panel can decide the question as well. The Supreme Court granted writ of certiorari last week for the separate case of Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, on whether inter partes review violates the United States Constitution by extinguishing private property rights through a non-Article III forum without a jury.

Cascades states that the America Invents Act is in violation of separation of powers under the United States Constitution by granting the Patent Trial and Appeal Board the authority to find patents invalid. Back in February of 2017, Cascades attempted to appeal to the Federal Circuit in hopes they would reconsider the precedent ruling in MCM Portfolio v. Hewlett-Packard, which states patents are public rights. Three months later, the court denied to hear the case. In response to denying the case, three United States Circuit Judges agreed that the ruling in MCM Portfolio v. Hewlett-Packard was valid.

Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group is arguing that federal courts only, and not executive branch tribunals, can decide whether a patent is valid or not. They continue to argue that patents are private property rights and not public rights, which under Article III of the United States Constitution, can only be revoked by a federal court. We will post an update when the case is decided by the United States Supreme Court.

Patent Venue Rules Tested

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a ruling in May 2017 limiting the places a U.S. company can be sued. This could generate a myriad of legal conflicts in the future, while creating various limitations for patent owners. According to federal law, patent venue laws state that lawsuits can be filed at either the location where the defendant lives or where the defendant performs business at. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Brands Group, the Supreme Court determined in May 2017, deciding the word “resides” means the place of incorporation. Supreme Court justices also announced that their finding is only applicable to domestic corporations.

Nothing should change for foreign defendants as of now, but in the long run, challenges may arise for venue rules concerning foreign defendants. Experts are speculating that plaintiffs may attempt to target only the foreign parent of a company when a foreign potential defendant has a subsidiary in the United States.

Due to venue controversies, impacts on company decisions are highly anticipated. It is recommended that all growing businesses in the U.S. have a set place of business. The Federal law pertaining to patent venue says that wherever a defendant resides, a lawsuit can be filed. As well as anywhere an infringement has taken place, and a business has an established and regular place of operation. Now that U.S. companies are limited on where they can be sued, there may be many challenges to come for non- U.S. defendants.