Amazon has launched a programme in the UK and Europe in an effort to tackle counterfeit goods.
The ‘Intellectual Property Accelerator’ is designed to make it easier and more cost effective for small and medium-sized businesses to obtain trademarks to protect their brands.
IP Accelerator, which is available to any brand selling in Amazon’s stores, connects entrepreneurs directly with a curated network of European law firms with expertise in IP rights. Participating law firms will charge fees to SMBs at competitive, pre-negotiated rates, giving sellers confidence and clarity about how much obtaining a trademark will cost them, Amazon says. In addition, SMBs can also seek general IP advice from these law firms as their brands and businesses grow.
According to Amazon, larger businesses are four times more likely than SMBs to register their Intellectual Property rights. The main reason small business entrepreneurs do not protect their rights is because of a lack of knowledge about IP and not knowing where to turn. The process can be complicated, Amazon notes, particularly for entrepreneurs in the early stages of setting up a business. Amazon said it wanted to provide low cost assistance to all European SMBs, including the over 150,000 European-based SMBs selling on its site. Selling partners continue to account for more than 50 per cent of products Amazon sells in its online stores.
“IP rights are vital for businesses wanting to stop unauthorized parties from using their brands or copying their ideas,” Amazon says. “Owning IP can also create new sources of revenue should entrepreneurs wish to license their goods or services to third parties.”
The news follows the announcement yesterday that Amazon has launched a joint operation, in partnership with the US government, to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the US, to help protect American consumers. US Customs and Border Protection and DHL are also supporting the operation.
In an effort to protect consumers, this joint operation will analyse data and conduct targeted inspections at US ports of entry aimed at preventing counterfeit products from entering the US supply chain. The IPR Center and Amazon said they will leverage evidence obtained during the operation to expand on-going investigations, with the goal of holding bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
This operation will be led by Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit, which was created earlier this year to support law enforcement investigations and to initiate civil litigation against counterfeiters.