In a move that could point to possible future directions for the technology giant, Amazon has announced its “Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator” service, “a new program that helps brands more quickly obtain intellectual property (IP) rights and brand protection in Amazon’s stores”.
Amazon Marketplace, the section of Amazon’s site where third-party sellers use Amazon’s infrastructure to sell products, accounts for around a third of Amazon’s total online sales, but the sale of counterfeit goods via this route has been a long-standing issue. The launch of Amazon’s IP Accelerator could be a decisive step towards strengthening brand protection and IP rights for third-party sellers, thereby reducing counterfeit sales, as well as an indication that Amazon might be looking to extend its reach into the provision of legal services.
According to Amazon’s Vice President of Customer Trust and Partner Support, Dharmesh Mehta: “Expert legal guidance is critical for businesses to protect their brands and avoid costly mistakes in the trademark filing process. IP Accelerator solves this challenge by connecting businesses with a curated network of trusted IP law firms that provide high quality trademark registration services at competitive rates to help brands secure a trademark. When businesses use these law firms to file trademark applications, Amazon provides their brands with accelerated access to brand protection in Amazon’s stores”.
Amazon has already issued a list of “participating IP law firms”, who it says will charge “pre-negotiated rates for the standard services involved in obtaining a trademark registration”. It says that registered brands “will benefit from automated brand protections, which proactively block bad listings from Amazon’s stores … and access to [Amazon’s] Report a Violation tool, a powerful tool to search for and report bad listings that have made it past [Amazon’s] automated protections”.