by Drew Estes
Before we explain the Amazon IP Accelerator, it’s important you understand whether you can even use the service. If not, this post won’t apply to your business.
The IP here stands for Intellectual Property, meaning this applies to sellers who have their own brand or private label. If you’re selling someone else’s product wholesale (or using any other business model option), you may want to skip this article for now.
However, one of the biggest opportunities for third-party sellers on Amazon is to own a trademarked brand. The profit margins are higher, winning the Buy Box is simpler, and you set yourself apart from competitors, making sales much easier to come by.
On top of all this, when you get a trademark, you’re able to join Amazon Brand Registry. With this registration, Amazon hooks you up with some great seller tools.
We wrote an entire post about registering your brand on Amazon if you’d like to learn more (and we’ll give you some details further down), but for starters, the Registry includes everything from analytics and A+ Content, to protection from sketchy sellers trying to sell knockoffs or counterfeits of your product.
Here’s the problem though: getting your brand trademarked can be a major pain in the butt, and can take six to twelve months (or more) to process and get into the Brand Registry.
With the IP Accelerator though, you can get your brand registered in a matter of days.
On the Amazon iP Accelerator page, they summarize the service as something that “helps businesses more quickly obtain intellectual property (IP) rights and brand protection in Amazon’s stores.”
In short, it connects you with this curated list of trusted law firms, vetted by Amazon. These firms can get your brand trademarked at impressive speeds, and they offer high-quality services for competitive, pre-negotiated rates.
But there’s one little bonus detail a lot of sellers don’t notice:
Amazon allows you into their Brand Registry before your trademark application is even accepted.
You read that right. You gain Amazon Brand Registry access shortly after you’ve filed for the trademark.
Since these law firms are pre-vetted, any business they decide to work with will already be a strong candidate for the registry. So as long as you select a firm from the list provided under the Amazon IP Accelerator list, you’ll be fast-tracked to get access to Brand Registry and all the perks and protections that come with it.
Basically, once Amazon sees that you’ve filed an application through one of their IP Accelerator law firms, they’ll invite you to join the Brand Registry. In our experience, that happened around two weeks after submitting the application.
Pretty simple: if for some reason you go through the IP Accelerator and your application is rejected, Amazon will revoke your Brand Registration access.
However, due to the quality of these IP Accelerator law firms, once they’ve decided to work with you, the odds of rejection are low.
The service itself is free. You don’t need to pay anything to find one of these law firms or contact them.
The costs come from the law firms themselves, and from the US government. Here’s the breakdown of costs for just one brand, for a single class of goods or services (more on trademark classes below).
Maximum service fees:
These are the maximum prices for each service as of 2020. Some firms charge lower prices, so you can get better deals in case these prices make your stomach drop (the $275 government filing fee is still fixed though, sorry).
A “class” in this context is basically the market category you’re in. So in layman’s terms, your trademark protects you from violations or infringements within your own class.
This is why you can have Delta Airlines and Delta the faucet company existing at the same time: because they offer completely unrelated services in different industries. Unless people start riding their kitchen sinks over the Atlantic, the two companies have no reason to worry about each other.
Bear in mind that we’re not lawyers here, and we’re not trying to give legal advice, so please don’t make legal decisions based on our explanations. If you think your product could fit into multiple classes though, ask your IP lawyer for advice on filing for more than one class.
If you want to do some of your own research about multiple-class items, you can get started with this information from the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO):
“To determine the class that covers each of your goods or services, search the Trademark ID Manual. Your text search will generally return a list of matching goods or services and the related class number.”
When it comes to long-term selling, Amazon Brand Registry provides a ton of benefits, not just in terms of brand protection, but for better marketing:
In short, yes, getting a trademark can be a high upfront cost. However, it’s a one-time investment, leading to more revenue opportunities and fewer issues with illegal competitors stealing your hard-earned profits.
For our trademark, we contacted several firms and selected IdeaLegal from the list. It took about two weeks from the day we paid them to the day we entered Amazon Brand Registry.
IdeaLegal was a pleasure to work with and did a great job from start to finish. Our total was $875, which might sound a little steep but was well worth the price.
In the video below, Paul walks you through our whole process from the beginning, including some price estimates and some things to consider:
These are some highly rated IP law firms, so when you have quality legal services at your disposal you may want to make other requests. A big perk of working with a lawyer is being able to get some expert legal advice for any questions you have along the way.
While you shouldn’t have any trouble getting other services, remember that for anything beyond the pre-negotiated services listed above, the cost will be decided between you and the law firm.
Fair warning: services might be more costly when Amazon isn’t helping you get a good price.
If you sell on Amazon, you’re eligible to apply. According to the IP Accelerator FAQ page, it’s available to anyone in the world.
Currently, services are offered in the following languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Gujarati, Italian, and Portuguese.
For now, the firms in Amazon’s list are for American trademarks only, so you can either register an American trademark or look for services elsewhere (Amazon does have plans to expand their legal firm list to have firms in other countries, but so far it’s just in the US).
However, if you’re in another country, you have other options as well. It might be cheaper in some countries, and sometimes faster to get the trademark itself (such as in the UK), but Brand Registry access won’t be quite as fast, since these firms aren’t partnered with Amazon.
Aside from the US, if you’re from one of the following countries (or the EU), Amazon Brand Registry will also accept trademarks issued by your local government trademark office:
Be aware that if you register your trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), you should submit the number registered with your country’s IP organization’s office instead, because sometimes different numbering systems are used.
Some of these countries might have a faster turnaround time for getting your trademark. International firms are not currently included in the IP Accelerator list of firms though, meaning you won’t get that 10-day Brand Registry access when you apply.
That said, once you have your trademark you can sign right up! If your country has a cheaper option, this might be the way to go. For some sellers abroad, a couple months of waiting might be worth the money saved.
If you’re a new seller, read our post on Selling on Amazon from Outside the US for a step-by-step guide on getting started and selling from another country.
This will depend on a few things, including your budget. If you’re a small-scale seller, throwing upwards of two grand into getting a trademark might sound unnecessary.
If you plan to really get serious about your business though, and especially if you plan to scale up, getting a trademark is a wise investment. The same goes for getting Amazon Brand Registry access.
Since Brand Registry gets you access to seller tools like A+ Content, analytics, violation reporting, and a branded company page (for starters), it can give you a huge leg up to boost sales and make the most of your advertising budget.
In particular, you can be a more competitive seller sooner rather than later if you get access to these tools next week instead of waiting a year (or never getting them at all). Not to mention protection from cheap imitations of your product!
All in all, Amazon IP Accelerator is a smart long-term investment for any serious brand owner.
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