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Amazon Launches Intellectual Property Accelerator for Canadian Retailers and Businesses: Interview

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Retail giant Amazon has launched the Intellectual Property Accelerator to help Canadian businesses — of small and medium size — secure a trademark and protect their brands.

The initiative connects these businesses with a network of Canadian IP law firms charging reduced fees on key services and participating businesses can access Amazon’s brand protection tools months before their trademark registration is issued.

Mary Beth Westmoreland, VP, Brand Protection at Amazon, said 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.

Mary Beth Westmoreland

“IP Accelerator is a program that helps businesses that sell on Amazon more quickly obtain intellectual property rights to protect their brands, both in Amazon’s stores and in the broader marketplace,” she said.

“IP Accelerator connects businesses with a curated network of eight trusted Canadian IP law firms that provide high quality trademark registration services at reduced rates to help them secure a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. This is important because IP rights are vital to businesses to help them protect their brands, and stop bad actors from copying and infringing on their ideas.

“Amazon is committed to the success of our SMB sellers. We know that seeking IP protection can be a time-consuming, daunting process, and we want to facilitate and expedite the process for as many brands as possible, working with Canada’s most skilled legal professionals.”

The list of participating Canadian firms includes Bereskin & Parr LLP, Chari Prenol Slaney & Turco, Palmer IP, Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP, JZC, Ridout & Maybee LLP, Brouillette Legal Inc., and Clancy PC. These firms are located in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, and Montreal. Participating law firms can serve clients in several languages including English, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese.

“What’s also exciting is that IP Accelerator provides SMBs with early access to Amazon’s brand protection tools even before their trademark is officially registered. For example, Amazon’s Brand Registry is a free service that provides SMBs with powerful tools that help them manage and protect their brand and IP rights in Amazon stores, with more than 350,000 brands enrolled to date. Participants benefit from Amazon’s automated, data-driven protections that proactively remove suspected infringing or inaccurate content as well as tools that enable brands to report suspected infringement,” said Westmoreland, adding that the IP Accelerator is very much a program that sets SMBs up to grow over the long term.

She said Amazon created IP Accelerator to help SMBs build and protect their brands by relieving the time and challenges that can be associated with filing an application for IP protection.

“We know how critical it is for a brand to protect its IP, and we want to help remove barriers by connecting our SMB sellers with Canada’s top IP legal talent,” explained Westmoreland.

“We also want to help as many brands that sell in our store as possible have access to protections which were previously only available to brands with registered trademarks. These protections include powerful features to find and report potential infringing listings, automated brand protections that remove suspected inaccurate content, and eligibility for brand-building tools. IP Accelerator provides brands with these protections even before their trademark is issued, and we believe that this can have a significant impact.”

IP Accelerator was launched in the United States in 2019, and has since expanded to Europe, Japan, India, and now Canada. Since the program’s initial launch, more than 6,000 trademark applications from participating brands have been submitted to trademark offices including the US Patent and Trademark Office, the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the UK Intellectual Property Office, India Trade Marks Registry, the Japan Patent Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Jennifer Pratt

“We’re working with more and more SMBs, and what we’re hearing from our sellers is that they have so many urgent day-to-day priorities involved in running a small business that things like trademark protection are falling by the wayside. We’re proud of the innovations that our SMB sellers bring to Amazon and our customers, and we want to help our sellers protect their unique ideas and grow with us over the long term,” said Westmoreland. “For example, one of our sellers based in BC, Seeding Square, has created a unique gardening tool that has become very popular with urban gardeners. We want to help this seller protect her invention. That’s why we’re working with some of Canada’s top legal talent, who have agreed to reduce their rates to make it as easy as possible for SMBs to have access to the expertise they need.

“It’s worth noting that 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.”

The IP Accelerator is available to any brand selling in Amazon’s stores.

Amazon does not charge selling partners to use IP Accelerator — SMBs pay their law firm directly for the work performed at reduced, pre-negotiated rates. Businesses interested in IP Accelerator can visit brandservices.amazon.ca/ipaccelerator. Law firms that are interested in participating in the program should contact IPAcceleratorWaitList@amazon.com.

Paula Clancy

“For any small business, but particularly for one like mine, whose invention is becoming increasingly popular, there is a significant risk of competitors copying or stealing your hard work and capitalizing on your growth,” said Jennifer Pratt, Founder and Owner of Seeding Square, the colour-coded seed spacer for vegetable gardens. “As a small business owner, I have many urgent day-to-day priorities that can prevent me from pursuing complicated matters like trademark protection. I am encouraged to see initiatives like IP Accelerator, which connects businesses like mine with specialized legal expertise at a reduced cost.”

Paula Clancy, Founder and Managing Attorney at Clancy PC, said that in today’s competitive marketplace, your brand is one of your most valuable assets as it represents your reputation in the eyes of consumers, directing them to your products and services.

“Brand protection on a store like Amazon, which reaches millions of customers worldwide, is essential, not only to prevent unauthorized use of your marks, but also to protect you from potential claims by third parties. Amazon’s IP Accelerator helps small businesses connect with trusted trademark professionals to protect their brands. Clancy PC is excited to be part of the program and to assist small businesses through the trademark registration and Amazon Brand Registry process,” she said.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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