Amazon has recently launched its Intellectual Property Accelerator in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as it already has in most of the other principal European markets in which it has been long operating. It is an interesting program through which Jeff Bezos’ company stands alongside small and medium-sized businesses with the aim of simplifying the registration of trademarks, protecting them against counterfeit goods and, consequently, by improving the legal defense of intellectual property.
This very significant intervention will probably also serve to curb the meaningless chatter of those who see Amazon opposed to the small local businesses, as if they were two entities in constant contrast, and as if there were no useful opportunities for creating valid synergies that could be beneficial to both.
How the IP Accelerator works
But having said that, how does the IP Accelerator work for businesses? What does Amazon have in mind for the defense of the intellectual property of our European entrepreneurs?
Very briefly, the IP Accelerator is able to connect business owners to a network of trusted law firms and legal counsellors present in all the European territory and who are specialized experts in the protection of intellectual property rights. Anyone interested in a deeper understanding can go directly to the showcase that the marketplace has dedicated to this initiative.
Therefore, when a SME wishes to discover how it can empower its rights and the defense of its interests all it has to do is contact one of the law firms through the Accelerator program, and seek all the advice needed from them.
What happens between the law firm and the SME after they have been connected by Amazon, no one knows, considering there are no constraints whatsoever.
So, on the one hand, it’s possible that the relation between the two parties ends with a simple request for a quote, a list of the possible actions to take in order to protect one’s brand and products at an international level. On the other hand, it’s also feasible that the law firm becomes a real partner of the enterprise, following every phase of its growth on the International markets.
What are the advantages for the SME’s?
At this point of our discussion, we can anticipate the question that probably many of our entrepreneur readers are already asking themselves: for what reason could it be more convenient to request counseling from a legal firm introduced by the IP Accelerator, instead of turning with the same confidence to a legal firm located in one’s own city, for example?
The question is very well put, indeed!
Generally speaking, there are mainly two advantages that Amazon seems to be able to grant to all the SME’s that will join the program:
- on the one hand, the possibility of getting in touch only and exclusively with law firms with proven expertise in the field, thus avoiding contact with consultants that are incapable of responding adequately to the clients’ needs;
- on the other hand, the possibility of benefiting from a more competitive fee, considering that Amazon has assured that the law firms participating in its accelerator program have to ensure they will charge notably reduced maximum fees to the SME’s.
By the way, access to Amazon’s Intellectual Property Accelerator program is completely free of charge for SME’s. The business owner will pay only and exclusively for the advice received from the law firm.
Why is the IP Accelerator important and why you shouldn’t underestimate it.
If your business brings you to explore different markets besides the one in your home country, the IP Accelerator program could really make the difference in rendering your activity more sustainable in a global context.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the European Union, less than one SME out of ten in the EU protects itself by registering its intellectual property rights, as compared to the considerably better ratio (one out of three) recorded for the bigger-sized enterprises. This represents a very serious shortfall in brand protection that exposes small and medium-sized enterprises to the risks deriving therefrom, that can eventually lead to their exclusion from the market, and to the shutdown of their business activity because they have simply underestimated the crucial importance of properly protecting their brand.
The same report edited by the EU also underlines the fact that almost four SME’s out of ten stated that the main reason for not registering their trademarks was the lack of knowledge about intellectual property and of the means to defend it.
This is why we think that a program like the one launched by Amazon can really constitute the basis for focusing greater attention on brand protection, and can contribute in a non-marginal way to nourishing more concreteness in the field.
It is sufficient to take into account that more than 150.000 European SME’s are selling on Amazon to date, and that the products sold by these sales partners account for more than half of all the products sold online by Amazon. If the percentages recorded by the EU study are correct, this would mean that about 135.000 SME’s are selling their products on Amazon without having registered their brands, thereby exposing their business to the serious risk of failure.
The danger is more tangible than you think
And if you think the danger of your brand being counterfeit is not tangible or concrete, unfortunately you are wrong (and quite a bit, too!)
In fact, as many analyses have demonstrated, the number of fake vendors on Amazon has increased even more in 2020, meaning all those operators who promise to sell all kinds of category products, illustrated with false information and images, or even sellers who place on the market products developed by copying the unauthorized drawings and projects of other sellers.
A rather uncertain and prejudicial context which more and more Italian SME’s unfortunately are having to deal with, often forced to run for cover when it’s too late, at the moment they discover their products have been copied by their competitors, or have been used to produce very similar models.
Thanks to the IP Accelerator, the SME’s now have an extra tool available for protecting their brands, to add to the portfolio of alternative services that the marketplace has already implemented to the advantage of businesses, including European companies.
Among the best known of these tools is the Brand Registry, a service that makes available to the SME’s different tools for managing and protecting their brands online: a free service that we will discuss in one of our next in-depth studies, and that has allowed the platform to convey the enrollment of more than 350.000 brands, that can now easily find and report suspected infringements of intellectual property, and gain greater influence over product information on the product detail pages appearing on the same page as one’s own.
If you’d like more information on Amazon’s IP Accelerator, we suggest you visit the following site on the Internet brandservices.amazon.com/ipaccelerator.