Amazon has launched a “curated network” of intellectual property (IP) law firms to provide trade mark registration services to SMEs, which it plans to roll out internationally.
The move shows the potential for the retail behemoth to offer a route into legal services.
The 11 law firms that form part of the IP Accelerator are there to help brands more quickly obtain IP rights and brand protection in Amazon’s stores.
Their listings on Amazon’s Seller Central service indicates that three of them have already handled more than 100 matters each.
“We look forward to expanding IP Accelerator to law firms and trade mark offices in other countries,” the service’s website says.
Amazon has pre-negotiated rates with the law firms for filing trade mark applications: a “high-level” brand search of Trademark Office records for relevant pending applications or registrations costs $500; a “comprehensive brand review”, including Trademark Office records and unregistered uses costs $1,800, and filing a US trade mark application costs $600 (plus government fees).
The fees for any other IP services are not set by Amazon and subject to usual negotiation between firm and client.
Users do not have to pay Amazon to access the IP Accelerator and do not need to be sellers in the Amazon Marketplace.
In a blog, Dharmesh Mehta, who heads Amazon’s worldwide customer trust and partner support service, said: “Expert legal guidance is critical for businesses to protect their brands and avoid costly mistakes in the trade mark filing process…
“Amazon has vetted the participating IP law firms for experience, expertise and customer service, and all have agreed to competitive, pre-negotiated rates for the standard services involved in obtaining a trademark registration.”
Mr Mehta said that, because of the assurance of using the law firms, when one of them files a trade mark application, “they will be strong candidates for registration”.
He continued: “As a result, Amazon will provide these brands with accelerated access to brand protections in Amazon’s stores, to better protect their brand months, or even years, before their trade mark registration officially issues.
“Brands will benefit from automated brand protections, which proactively block bad listings from Amazon’s stores, increased authority over product data in our store, and access to our Report a Violation tool, a powerful tool to search for and report bad listings that have made it past our automated protections.”