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Could the future of intellectual property legal services be just one click away?
The launch of a new service in the United States by the world's largest retailer, Amazon, could change the way businesses access Intellectual Property legal services in the future.
The new IP Accelerator connects SMEs to a network of intellectual property law firms that provide trademark registration services, in a bid for SMEs to quickly obtain intellectual property rights and brand protection in the US when using Amazon's online stores.
The IP accelerator is a way of helping to enforce rights against breaches of unregistered IP rights on its online platform.
Amazon's new offering could also be a direct result of the United States Patent and Trademark office's new rule, which came into force on 3rd August 2019. The rule states that any foreign-domiciled trademark applicants must appoint, and be represented by a US lawyer, so the IP Accelerator is a way of making sure that IP specialists are on hand through this Amazon service to prepare and file trademark applications.
Upon filing an application, Amazon will provide brands with accelerated access to brand protections in Amazon's stores, to ensure their brands are better protected months, or even years before their trademark registration officially comes to fruition.
Although the IP Accelerator service has not yet made its way over to the UK, it is likely that once it does, a number of businesses will make use of the offering to obtain accelerated access to brand protections in Amazon's stores, in addition to protections granted under UK law. However, it is worth noting that Amazon has made it clear that if an application which is filed through the IP Accelerator is denied, the applicant will no longer have access to the brand protection features for that trademark application.
Avoid costly mistakes
Businesses should also be aware that, in the UK, a trademark may be revoked where, amongst other reasons, there has been no genuine use of the trademark for a continuous five year period. We would therefore advise SMEs thinking about registering trademarks to give some serious consideration to the scope of use of any trademark they are hoping to register.
In a blog from the head of Amazon's worldwide customer trust and partner support service, Dharmesh Mehta stated that 'expert legal guidance is critical for businesses to protect their brands and avoid costly mistakes in the trademark filing process.'
Amazon's new offering highlights the need for businesses to protect any IP rights, not necessarily just trademarks, particularly if the business hopes to grow into a household name. However, it is important to note that this new service being offered by Amazon mainly benefits SMEs that will be making use of Amazon's accelerated brand protection features.
Nothing can replace a detailed discussion with an IP legal expert about the use of a trademark in respect of goods or services. All legal hurdles must be considered and ultimately overcome when it comes to IP rights, which is why it's important to choose a law firm with the relevant experience who can prepare and file trademark applications having spent time discussing it properly with the applicant in depth.