Amazon has launched its Intellectual Property Accelerator (IP Accelerator) in Canada, expanding the program to make it easier for SMBs to obtain trademarks and protect their brands from infringement both in Amazon’s stores and the broader marketplace, according to a statement released by the company.
Amazon Expands IP Accelerator Program for SMBs to Canada
Amazon’s IP Accelerator was launched in the United States in 2019, and has since expanded to Europe, Japan, India and now Canada. IP rights can stop bad actors from copying and infringing on SMBs’ ideas and intellectual property. However, filing for IP protection can be daunting and time-consuming for SMBs; in Canada, individual trademark applications to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office can take up to 28 months. The IP Accelerator program eases the process by connecting SMBs with lawyers who are skilled in drafting trademark applications and can help remove common obstacles that could delay the issuance of a registration, Amazon said in the statement.
IP Accelerator provides SMBs with early access to Amazon’s brand protection tools, including its free brand registry, that help them protect their brand and IP even before their trademark is officially registered, according to the statement. Enrollment in brand registry also provides brands with greater influence over product information displayed on Amazon’s product detail pages.
Connecting SMBs With IP Services
The IP Accelerator directly connects SMB owners with local law firms charging reduced, pre-negotiated rates on key services, giving SMBs access to expert legal and general IP advice, according to the statement. Thus far, Amazon said more than 350,000 brands have enrolled. Amazon does not charge selling partners to participate in the program; SMBs instead pay the lawyers directly for services they receive.
“More than 30,000 Canada-based third-party sellers have grown their business with Amazon, reaching millions of customers while grossing more than $2 billion on Amazon’s stores around the world. IP Accelerator allows our SMB selling partners to build on that success by protecting their valuable IP and setting them up for long-term growth. Establishing and protecting IP rights are essential for businesses of every size, and Amazon is pleased to introduce a new tool that provides access to specialized expertise to help protect brands,” said Mary Beth Westmoreland, vice president, brand protection at Amazon.
Although Amazon positions itself as a small business proponent, the e-commerce giant also faces Big Tech antitrust questions related to SMB competitive practices.