Amazon launches IP Accelerator for its Canadian retailers

Amazon worker in fulfillment centre packing box

Amazon has brought its intellectual property (IP) protection program to Amazon sellers in Canada.

Amazon said that filing for IP protection “can be daunting and time-consuming” for SMBs.

The US ecommerce giant’s IP accelerator aims to help small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that sell on Amazon obtain IP rights more easily and cheaply, enabling them to “protect their brands and tackle infringing goods” on both Amazon and the wider marketplace.

The program connects Amazon sellers to a network of participating Canadian law firms, charging those businesses reduced, pre-negotiated fees on “key services related to securing trademark protection” and granting them access to expert legal and general IP-related advice “that may otherwise be cost-prohibitive or hard to find.” It also offers participating businesses early access to Amazon’s brand protection tools “months before their trademark registration is issued.”

“There is now no need to wait years for a trademark registration to access the Amazon Brand Registry enforcement and brand profile tools,” said Dean Palmer, managing partner of Palmer IP’s Canadian division, one of the program’s participating law firms.

Amazon’s Brand Registry is a free automated, data-driven service that provides Amazon sellers with tools to help them manage and protect their brand and IP rights in Amazon stores. To date, the program has enrolled more than 350,000 brands.

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According to TechCrunch, Amazon has long struggled to combat counterfeit and other illicit items sold through its marketplace, and the company launched its IP accelerator to help address this issue.

The program is free to access, as Amazon does not charge users any fees: SMBs simply pay their law firm directly.

A recent Wall Street Journal report found that Amazon has compelled some of its sellers in particular markets to engage with it in others, including Toronto-based consumer electronics provider ecobee. Last April, The Journal also found Amazon used data from its merchants to launch competing products.

Amazon’s IP Accelerator is currently available to Amazon sellers in 28 countries, including the US, China, India, the UK, Germany, and Brazil. The company initially launched its IP Accelerator program in the US in 2019. In November, Amazon expanded it to Europe.

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According to Amazon, “individual trademark applications to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office can take up to 28 months.” Amazon IP Accelerator plans to help facilitate this process for Canadian SMBs.

The Government of Canada’s latest budget announced the creation of ElevateIP, a new program to help accelerators and incubators give Canadian startups access to IP services, committing $90 million towards it. Canada also promised $75 million over three years to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to provide high-growth firms with the same services.

The federal government also intends to initiate a Strategic Intellectual Property Program Review, and improve the Canada Small Business Financing Program by expanding loan class eligibility to include lending against IP and startup assets and expenses.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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