By CJ Rosenbaum, Esq. Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.
The Law Firm Behind AmazonSellersLawyer.com
In order to build your Amazon brand, something that you fully own, you need to develop your brand.
- Create a corporation
The first thing you need to do is to create a corporate entity. You need to develop a “real” business. Having the formality of a business entity helps develop an asset that you can either draw investment into or sell. People my age may recall the bestselling book “The Golden Parachute” ….build an asset that you can potentially sell.
You can easily create a corporation yourself. You never need a lawyer to create a corporation. You should likely retain a lawyer to draft the shareholder agreement once you have created the entity. But, for simply creating a corporation, do it yourself.
Every single person can create their own corporation by dialing this number, 1-800-BLUMBERG. This is a service I use in New York to create corporations. All you have to do is call them and provide your preferred corporation names. Blumberg will let you know if your preferred names are taken. If they are not, they will obtain your credit card, take payment and have the corporation established.
You can also create a corporation the old fashioned way, by filing a Certificate of Incorporation form and a second online to obtain a United States tax ID number from the IRS. If you decide to do it this way, you need to prepare these 6 pieces of information:
- The name of the corporation (Submit three names, in case someone else has it)
- The type of business (Any legal purpose)
- Country (What county are you going to do the business)
- The number of shares (In New York, you can go as far as 200 shares with no additional taxes)
- Address (This is if in case you get sued)
- Initial shareholders (Some people go in some places like Wyoming or Delaware if they don’t want to identify their shareholders)
That’s how easy it is to create a corporation.
- Insure your business
After creating your corporation, get insurance. It is easy to obtain. I highly suggest Ashlin Hadden Insurance at 313-771-9185 for two different policies. You need two policies.
The first insurance policy you need is a liability policy. For example, if you are selling a powerpoint clicker and the clicker somehow hurts your customer’s thumb, the injuries will be paid for by Ashlin’s carrier. More importantly, since the customer’s thumb is more likely not going to get hurt and the case is baseless, the insurance company will provide you with lawyers to defend the case. In fact, defense costs are often more important than indemnity coverage.
The second policy you must purchase is Worker’s Compensation insurance. This is important especially when you hire staff in the domestic United States. In every single state in the union, if you fail to have a Worker’s Comp, it is a crime.
- Start building corporate accounts
For you to set up your brand and to build your business, you have to act like a business. For instance, when you open a bank account or open an Amazon seller account make sure to use your corporate name. Doing everything in the corporation’s name will help you develop a corporate credit history. The easiest place to start is through a bank where you already have accounts and money. Call your bank and request a corporate credit card. Also, use the corporation to open all of the following accounts in the corporate name:
- Bank accounts
- Cell phone account
- Corporate credit history
- Dunn and Bradstreet
- Leases (even if for virtual space)
Everything you do should be in the name of your business. This helps you build your business brand as well as your legitimacy and credibility.
- Build your domain name
The next thing you’re going to do is build your brand’s domain name. What you want to do is make sure you get a domain name that matches your Amazon seller’s name if you can or your corporate name. On Amazon, it is always best if everything on Amazon matches for many reasons.
Here are some options you can do you build your domain name:
- Godaddy, is a reliable platform
- Expireddomains.net, this site lists domain names that people and companies bought domain names and then abandoned or didn’t pay their fees. Some domains may already have backlinks. They may also have a good amount of aging which would help you with Google rankings. Some sites might already have quality and on-target content that matches whatever market you’re going into.
- Wayback Machine has pictures of websites going back many years. This allows you to see if the domain had quality content on it years ago or if the domain lacked content or, at worst, had problematic content.
- Apply for your Trademark or your “Wordmark”
Building value into your business means owning intellectual property rights. What is going to be the name of your brand? You can come up with a name and run that name on Google to see if anybody else is using it for a similar product. If they are, go back to your drawing board. Find a new name and if a company is using that same name for a different type of product, then you need to think hard about it and ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to have a possible dispute with that company?
There are a lot of fights where you can win but it doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile. The goal here is to run your business smoothly. Get your business going, get your brand built and avoid disputes or the need to hire lawyers. It is important to avoid any kind of disputes when first building your brand.
Another way of checking to see if your brand name has been used is searching the name on Amazon and see if other products or sellers come up. Also, go to uspto.gov and use the tools there to triple-check that your brand name is not being used. Assuming the brand name you developed comes back clean, file for your word mark yourself. The application process to obtain a trademark is easy…not as easy as obtaining a corporation but easy enough that you can do it yourself.
When you apply for your trademark, you can choose a wordmark or logo mark or a combination of two. A wordmark is composed of words while the logo mark is a drawing. Example brands that use wordmark include Sharp, Google, Loreal, Logitech, etc. Brands who use logo marks include, Facebook and Apple and a combination of these two include eBay and FedEx. It’s composed of fanciful drawings or fanciful writings and this is the basic IP law every brand developer needs to know.
Once you have obtained your mark, start using it. Take your wordmark or your logo and you start using it on everything that you do. This is to help build your brand and the quality that’s associated with your brand.
These are 5 effective ways to develop your Amazon brand…now you need to find a product that sells.
Founding partner of Rosenbaum Famularo PC & Amazon Sellers Lawyer. CJ’s law firm is the only full-service, international law firm focused on Amazon Sellers dealing with Amazon suspensions, account reinstatement, and brand protection. Article content also contributed by associate Conor Wigins. amazonsellerslawyer.com