It's easy to by cynical about big tech, mostly because that cynicism is earned, and if given enough time, will be validated over and again. But on occasion credit must be given where it's due, even if you know that any such plaudits will look terrible in the light of some future malfeasance, if it doesn't already.
Amazon has announced a new program to help its sellers protect their products and to hopefully curb fraud on the platform. The company's IP Accelerator will facilitate connection between law firms and small- and mid-size sellers so that the latter can more easily seek the necessary IP protection for their work. The program is open to all businesses, regardless of whether they sell in the Amazon marketplace or not, and those that file for protections are given access to a suite of tools aimed at fraud protection.
The program seems to make a great deal of sense. While Amazon might not have as much to lose as individual companies in the case of illicit copycats, their reputation as a seller is based upon the trust of consumers to be a place where they can get quality, genuine products at a good price, and often delivered quickly in the case of Amazon Prime members. Any fraudulent products serves to damage that reputation slightly, and despite its efforts to stamp out the issue with Project Zero, the company has had and continues to have issues with counterfeit products and fraudulent reviews, small as that number might be.
And the program would seem to be a boon to small businesses as well, provided there aren't any unseen strings attached. Discounted legal fees are something that should entice any budget-conscious venture, especially if it means not trying to forego IP protection or legal advice on the matter altogether. And for better or worse, Amazon is where a great many of our fellow consumers go to look for anything and everything they need; getting your product in the marketplace without having to worry about fraud should be a net benefit, and possibly a considerable one if your product grabs attention.
So some qualified praise is owed Amazon for helping businesses with that most important step of IP protection. They are deriving some benefit, sure, but there's plenty of benefit to the businesses as well, and there is that old wisdom about not looking in the mouths of gift horses; small businesses should take advantage of this largesse for as long as it's offered, and hope that this open hand doesn't turn into a closed fist.