Tired As A Mercher – How Merch Informer Trademark Alerts Can Mean The Difference Between Sales And Amazon Dogs
Merch by Amazon users, it is time we had a talk about an issue I see time and time again yet no one is doing anything about.
Maybe it is my fault for not posting something like this earlier, but I am sick and tired of seeing people have their Merch by Amazon accounts get strikes for trademark infringement when it is all avoidable!
You see, another trademark has been applied for and granted. You may have gotten a strike against your account recently and that is just not okay!
The phrase in question is: “Tired As A Mother”.
Here is the email that people are getting:
When we first started Merch Informer a little over a year ago to date, our goal was to help the Merch community grow together, make more money, and sell more shirts! The aim of this very blog is to educate users on how they can grow at the fastest rate possible all while staying within the rules of the program.
Today, I want to go over exactly how to do your trademark checks and ensure that if you did get a strike against your account for something like the above image or phrase, that it never happens to you again.
Make Sure You Never Get A Trademark Strike Again
In order to make sure that you never get a Merch by Amazon strike again, there are a few moving parts to this entire equation.
If you are the type of person who would rather watch a video instead, here you go!
Step 1: Research
The very first step in any Merchers journey is to do your proper research on what niches are selling. The technique that we use to this day to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars is to identify niches with low BSRs (Best Sellers Rank), to see where the customer demand is. You can do this by opening up Amazon and searching for any random keyword you want. From there, open up EVERY SINGLE result in the first 5-10 pages.
The reason you should open up every single result on the first 5-10 pages of results is so you get the best picture of what is selling in the niche and why.
Remember, they are not ranked in Amazon by best sellers rank. It could be that one of the designs on the 8th page is actually selling better on the 1st page! Why you may ask? That design might be better optimized for another keyword that you did NOT type in. It may turn out that the phrase you typed in might be getting a sale a day but the result on the 8th page is selling 20 units a day because while it contains the keyword you searched for, is actually optimized for something else, which is bringing in the sales. This is CRUCIAL to understand. Once you know that, you can begin finding the diamonds in the rough that will bring you easy money with very little work.
Now yes, this research process can take hundreds or thousands of hours if you are doing it at scale.
The quicker way is to use Merch Informer.
Once you have determined the niche, in this case the phrase we want to use “tired as a mother”, create some spreadsheets with the designs that you think can be completely changed and revamped into a better product.
Step 2: Check Trademarks
The second step every Mercher must take is making sure the phrase is not protected by Trademark.
The way you do this is by opening up TESS or the trademark electronic search system offered by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
Click on basic word mark search and you will see the screen above. Enter the search term and click on submit query.
You will now see what the word marks that are registered. Make sure to see which ones have a serial number and registration numbers. The word marks with BOTH are considered live and enforceable. Click the name of the word mark to see what goods and services the mark is registered for:
Once you click through, you will notice that this word mark is registered for T-Shirts and a bunch of other categories. If you want to read more into the mark, click on the TSDR button at the top:
As you can see near the bottom of this screen shot, it was just registered on November 14th, 2017. This means the mark is live, and you can no longer make t-shirts with this phrase on them.
DISCLAIMER: Many people had shirts with this phrase on them up on Merch by Amazon BEFORE this mark went live. A lot of you guys and gals may have very well did the research up until this point when it was not registered and thought you were okay to use the phrase. This is where you need to be careful!
Step 3: Check Trademarks Daily
Once you have done the research and made sure that the phrase is free to use, you are NOT DONE.
If someone comes along at a later date and trademarks that phrase you are using, and it ends up getting registered (even though you were first), chances are, you are about to get a strike on your Merch by Amazon account.
Is this fair?
Of course not!
It is what it is though. We are playing in the Merch by Amazon sandbox, so we have to play by their rules. They are going to remove any shirt that has that phrase if it gets reported or if they do a sweep simply because they want to protect themselves from a lawsuit. Because Amazon wants to protect themselves at all costs, you need to be doing the very same with your account.
You MUST be checking trademarks on the phrases you are using on your shirts each and every day! No exception!
So how do you do this?
One option is to do exactly what we did above in step 2 and check TESS for the trademark to see if it shows up or if anything has changed. Anything above 100 shirts on the platform though, and you will burn out very quickly. In fact, you probably will quit long before then and think to yourself that you will be okay. Do not fall into this trap. I myself have violations for doing this exact thing so I understand the way we talk ourselves out of hard and tedious boring work.
When I was having this issue myself, I knew something had to be done to make sure my account stayed in good standing as my MBA account earns a very healthy income for myself. This is when we released the trademark Alerts Module within Merch Informer.
The system we developed will check the phrases and words you are using on your shirts each and every day. Instead of spending the thousands of hours with big accounts to check every day if the status of a trademark changed, simply enter them into Merch Informer and just check the system once a day. If the status on a trademark changes, it will alert you and give you a chance to take action on your own account to make sure you stay safe.
So how does it work exactly?
The first step is to enter the phrase you are using on your shirt and click on save.
The very first time a trademark is added to the system, it is in line to be checked once every 24 hours. Since you just added it to the system, it will show that it has not been checked yet (this status will change 24 hours later).
If you want to check it right away (it will still check every 24 hours to keep your safe), simply click on the check trademarks button at the top. You will only need to do this ONCE the very first time you put in a phrase.
As you can see, the phrase is not safe to use. You can verify that by going over step 2 and checking TESS. This system is built to alert you of changes so you can keep your account safe.
Now, if you are adding keywords in here that are safe, you will see a green check mark like this:
It will stay a green check mark telling you the mark is safe to use until it is registered. Once it becomes registered, the system will give it a red X so you know that you can look into it further and take down your shirts if you need to.
If you want to ensure you stay safe and grow your business without all the hassle and worry of wasting your time on things like this, make sure you sign up for the FREE 3 day trial of Merch Informer here.
Do Not Let Yourself Fall Into The Trap
Before I let you go, I really want to just reiterate how easy it is to fall into the trap of not checking these trademarks daily. In fact, I see it happen constantly in the Facebook communities where they do all the trademark checks but then do not stay up on them.
This is EXACTLY why we built this module into Merch Informer.
This is where I want to actually apologize for not writing this article earlier. This has been inside Merch Informer for many months now, and yet, I still see screens like this:
- I wish I found that it was trademarked two weeks ago
- It was fine when I uploaded my shirts, but not anymore
- My shirt has been up forever it was one of the first designs I had listed. Super frustrated to get a takedown.
All of these people could have avoided these strikes against their account if they had just followed this article and used the Trademark Alerts module inside Merch Informer which is why I finally had to write this article. I want to make sure that anyone who is taking this business seriously does not endanger their source of income.
Wrapping It up
If you know anyone who keeps getting strikes on their account months after the fact that they checked the trademark system, point them to this article. I personally went from having many violations for this EXACT problem to a whole 0 since we created this system
If you have any questions or concerns, drop them in the comments below.
Keep building and growing your accounts, and until next time!
To your success!