Entrepreneurs make things happen. They imagine, develop, manufacture, and sell products that change how our world operates. The make-it-happen energy hits a wall if consumers cannot access the innovative products. “Access” may comprise physical availability or, for that matter, price. Online sales platforms offer access for both purchasing consumers and selling entrepreneurs. In this interview with Noelle Rovegno, Owner of Lashbrella, LLC, we learn that trademark registration is essential to online sales platform success.
Noelle describes her entrepreneurship journey as “a massive commitment, and it’s a fun ride.” She imagined, designed, and developed a head piece that protects eyelash extensions during a shower (patent pending). Noelle created a LASHBRELLA trademark for her product and sought trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) because “I wanted to protect the brand that I was going to create.” Noelle was not yet selling LASHBRELLA-marked products, so she could not file an In-Use trademark application. Noelle filed an Intent-to-Use application on October 8, 2018 to register LASHBRELLA with the USPTO as an early step in her entrepreneurship journey.
An entrepreneur can stake a claim in a trademark, while developing a to-be-marked product, using an Intent-to-Use trademark application. The Intent-to-Use trademark application is examined for distinctiveness, and, if successful, the trademark is published for opposition. The LASHBRELLA trademark survived opposition, and the USPTO issued a Notice of Allowance on April 23, 2019. The Notice of Allowance, a communication unique to the Intent-to-Use trademark registration process, required Noelle to show proof of use of the LASHBRELLA trademark in commerce.
While navigating the Intent-to-Use trademark registration process, Noelle prepared her product for sale on Amazon® Seller. Noelle describes the Amazon® sales platform as “its own Google®.” There may be thousands of consumers; however, there are also thousands of competitors. Just like selling on the Internet, search result positioning on Amazon® Seller depends on search engine optimization and keywords. Amazon® Brand Registry, a product separate from Amazon® Seller, offered positioning benefits. Noelle saw registering with Amazon® Brand Registry as critical to her success on Amazon® Seller.
Registering as a brand provides multiple benefits to Amazon® Seller entrepreneurs. Noelle provides an explanation rooted in pragmatism – “you feel better about the dollars being spent on advertising when you’re getting brand recognition.” For example, “searching for content and using key words becomes a lot more seamless when you have your brand recognized.” Also, Amazon® Brand Registry “effectively, has a global team of investigators, that are available 24/7, to respond and take action [against counterfeit products], so the level of urgency associated with a trademarked brand is higher.” The Amazon® Brand Registry benefits outweigh the application process and the registry fees.
Unbeknownst to Noelle, registration with the Amazon® Brand Registry required a trademark registered with the USPTO. Noelle initiated the registry process after filing the application to register the LASHBRELLA trademark with the USPTO, but before receiving a Certificate of Registration from the USPTO. “I tried to submit my information to the brand registry too soon, and I got rejected.” Once an entrepreneur receives a Certificate of Registration from the USPTO for a trademark, “then you can finalize on your brand marking on the Amazon Brand Registry.”
Noelle was one step away from LASHBRELLA trademark registration with the USPTO. She needed to respond to the Notice of Allowance by showing use of the LASHBRELLA trademark in commerce. Noelle sold her LASHBRELLA-marked product on her MYLASHBRELLA.COM e-commerce website and used those sales to prove LASHBRELLA trademark use in commerce. Noelle received her Certificate of Registration for LASHBRELLA on February 4, 2020 and registered with Amazon® Brand Registry, soon thereafter. At that point, Noelle’s brand could become part of her product listing on Amazon® Seller, enabling optimal sales positioning on the online sales platform.
I want to thank Noelle Rovegno for sharing her entrepreneurship and trademark registration journeys. To learn more about the Lashbrella® brand of protections for cosmetic enhancements, please visit LASHBRELLA.
Hutchison Law, LLC has experience protecting intellectual property rights, such as preparing and filing In-Use and Intent-to-Use applications to register trademarks. To learn more about our intellectual property practice, please contact us at 410-978-7287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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