Today, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched Intellectual Property Accelerator (IP Accelerator) in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, making it easier and more cost effective for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to obtain trademarks, protect their brands and tackle counterfeit goods.
IP Accelerator, which is available to any brand selling in Amazon’s stores, connects entrepreneurs directly with a curated network of European law firms with expertise in IP rights. Participating law firms will charge fees to SMBs at competitive, pre-negotiated rates, giving sellers confidence and clarity about how much obtaining a trademark will cost them. In addition, SMBs can also seek general IP advice from these law firms as their brands and businesses grow.
Amazon launched IP Accelerator specifically with small business owners in mind. Larger businesses are four times more likely than SMBs to register their Intellectual Property (IP) rights1. The main reason small business entrepreneurs do not protect their rights is because of a lack of knowledge about IP and not knowing where to turn2. The process can be complicated, particularly for entrepreneurs in the early stages of setting up a business, and Amazon wanted to provide low cost assistance to all European SMBs, including the over 150,000 European-based SMBs selling on Amazon. Selling partners continue to account for more than 50% of products Amazon sells in its online stores.
IP rights are vital for businesses wanting to stop unauthorized parties from using their brands or copying their ideas. Owning IP can also create new sources of revenue should entrepreneurs wish to license their goods or services to third parties.
Businesses using IP Accelerator will also get access to Amazon’s wider brand protection services months or even years before their trademark registration is officially issued. Amazon’s Brand Registry provides SMBs with powerful tools that help them manage and protect their brand and IP rights in Amazon stores. Brand Registry is a free service and more than 350,000 brands are already enrolled. Participants benefit from Amazon’s automated protections that use information about brands to proactively remove suspected infringing or inaccurate content. Brands are also able to find and report suspected infringement through more powerful tools and can gain greater influence over product information displayed on Amazon’s product detail pages so customers can make confident, informed purchasing decisions on Amazon.
Francois Saugier, Vice President for EU Seller Services, Amazon, said: “We know from our conversations with small business owners that there is often confusion about why IP rights are important and how sellers can secure them. As part of our broader commitment to supporting small businesses, we have set up IP Accelerator to make the IP registration process as easy and as affordable as possible for entrepreneurs in the early days of their businesses.”
Pippa Hall, Director of Innovation and Chief Economist, from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, said: “Great ideas are the core of every good business. Turning those ideas into a reality relies on IP. Understanding, protecting and getting the most out of your IP is a crucial ingredient of success. A good IP strategy should sit at the heart of every good business plan.”
Amazon has selected participating IP law firms based on their experience, expertise, and customer service. They will support SMBs with all aspects of the trademark filing process, such as researching a brand to see if anyone else is already using it and providing tailored advice on trademark applications. Over one hundred trademark experts across Europe have signed up to the program.
Tilman Vossius, of Barkhoff, Reimann Vossius, Germany, said: “The IP Accelerator Programme is the first worldwide programme to provide rapid trademarking registration for small and medium-sized businesses. Amazon has helped SMBs by selecting respected IP firms across Europe and negotiating extremely good prices for them.”
José Ignacio San Martín, Associate Partner, Elzaburu, Spain, said: “The trademark is probably the most important intangible asset for a company. It allows a company’s products to be identified and differentiated from those of the competition. Amazon’s IP Accelerator is to be welcomed because it will mean more businesses will register their trademarks and also allows them to access all the benefits of Amazon’s Brand Registry.”
Julius Stobbs, Founder, Stobbs IP, UK, said: “We are excited to be involved in this programme. It is great that Amazon is placing such an emphasis on IP protection and respecting the rights of brand owners. IP Accelerator elevates the importance of IP and pushes smaller companies to do the right thing: obtaining and respecting IP rights.”
IP Accelerator was launched in the United States in 2019. Since the launch, Amazon has connected SMBs with participating IP law firms, resulting in 6,000 trademark applications submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Dewar Gaines, Owner and Operator of premium pet products business Gaines Family Farmstead, used IP Accelerator in 2019 to register his trademark, and can testify how European small firms can also benefit from the programme. Mr Gaines said: “As with any quickly growing business, there is always risk of people copying or stealing your hard work and capitalizing on your growth. As a result of filing our trademark through IP Accelerator, I am more confident than ever that our brand is secure, leaving me and my team more time to concentrate on providing awesome products to our incredible customers.”
Amazon does not charge businesses to use IP Accelerator – SMBs only pay their law firm directly for the work performed at pre-negotiated rates. Businesses interested in IP Accelerator can go to: http://brandservices.amazon.com/ipaccelerator. Law firms that are interested in participating in the program should contact IPAcceleratorWaitList@amazon.com
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1 According to research conducted by the EUIPO, 9% of EU SMBs have registered IP rights compared to 36% of larger companies. https://www.clustercollaboration.eu/sites/default/files/news_attachment/roadmap_-_intellectual_property_action_plan.pdf
2 38% of respondents to a recent study (IP SME scorecard, EUIPO 2019) reported a lack of knowledge about IP as the main reason for not seeking registration. Research cited in https://www.clustercollaboration.eu/sites/default/files/news_attachment/roadmap_-_intellectual_property_action_plan.pdf