Seattle based Amazon has entered the legal services market for businesses from around the world.
From Amazon’s Dharmesh Mehta head of Customer Trust and Partner Support (“CTPS”), in a post on the company’s Day One Blog:
“[W]e’re excited to launch Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator (“Accelerator”), a new program that helps brands more quickly obtain intellectual property (IP) rights and brand protection in Amazon’s stores. We created IP Accelerator specifically with small and medium businesses in mind, and IP Accelerator helps these entrepreneurs by making it easier and more cost effective to protect their ideas.”
Amazon acknowledges that expert legal counsel is critical for the protection of brands — and to avoid mistakes in the trademark process, they’ll assemble their own network of law firms.
“IP Accelerator solves this challenge by connecting businesses with a curated network of trusted IP law firms that provide high quality trademark registration services at competitive rates to help brands secure a trademark.”
Lest you think companies selling on Amazon won’t use the network law firms to file trademark applications, the companies who do so will receive preferential treatment from Amazon’s stores.
“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 trademark 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.”
Sonali Nayak, owner of Indigo Paisley, which sells luxury women’s clothing seller on Amazon, is all in.
“We’re very excited Amazon has a list of legal firms that can advise us in our trademark needs. We have struggled finding counsel for trademark specific questions as we are a small company and work with limited budgets. Having the peace of mind that Amazon has vetted these firms and negotiated pricing for us lets us focus on what matters—building our brand.”
Though the law firms are not named, Amazon has apparently chosen and vetted 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.”
Businesses selling on Amazon will pay their law firm at the pre-negotiated rates.
Of note is Accelerator being launched by CTPS which focuses on providing world-class support for Amazon’s selling partners. And at its disposal,
“CTPS has a global team of machine learning scientists, software developers, product managers, associates and investigators that owns this mission across Amazon’s stores worldwide.”
World class customer service from the CTPS law firm network mirrors that of the law firm network established by legal innovator, LegalZoom. LegalZoom is fanatical about customer service looking to reach a Net Promoter Score (NPS) the equal of Apple, Zappos, Amazon and Southwest Airlines. LegalZoom expects the same of its network lawyers to which it refers customers.
Amazon employed machine learning scientists and software developers leveraging Amazon’s wealth of customer data could provide powerful platforms and tech solutions to its network lawyers.
Rumor has had it around Seattle for the last twenty years that Amazon was intrigued by a play in the legal space. The CTPS lawyer network program places things beyond the rumor stage.
What’s it mean for lawyers, even at this early stage?
Building a strong identity in a niche founded on an equally strong network of relationships is becoming critically important. Assuming that by being smart and a good lawyer that you’ll always be paid the likes of today’s salaries by a major law firm may be dangerous.
When Amazon enters legal services it will do so by bringing efficiencies and technology that will eliminate repetitive legal services which have been billed by the hour. The same billable hour that has been the lynchpin of employing so many lawyers.
What the impact of Amazon’s entry into the delivery of legal services will mean is anyone’s guess. But things are unlikely to ever be the same.