Amazon has introduced a service to Canada intended to help small businesses get the legal help they need to protect their brands.
The Amazon IP Accelerator, which launched in the U.S. in 2019 and is available to any business selling through Amazon, connects Canadian small and mid-sized businesses with a network of law firms offering services and advice related to trademarks, brand and IP protections.
According to Amazon, more than 200 consumer food brands have used IP Accelerator across all of the markets it operates in.
While trademark applications are important for innovative small businesses who need to protect their IP, the process can take up to 28 months in Canada, according to Amazon. The Accelerator connects SMBs with experts who can provide advice and guidance to protect their brands even before being officially registered. Amazon does not take a fee for the service.
"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 of Seeding Square, the colour-coded seed spacer for vegetable gardens.
The IP Accelerator also helps SMBs remove suspected inaccurate content on Amazon, and tools to help brands report suspected brand infringements. Amazon also gives brands greater influence over product information on product detail pages.
"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,” said Mary Beth Westmoreland, VP, brand protection at Amazon, in a statement.
"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," added Westmoreland. "Establishing and protecting IP rights are essential for businesses of every size, and Amazon is pleased to introduce a new tool that provides access to specialized expertise to help protect brands."