Diana Arredondo won an award from the Mexican Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property for a research paper on IP when her career had only just begun. She became a regular subject in the World Trademark Review, winning further awards like World’s Leading Corporate Trademark Professionals, Software and Online Services Team of the Year, North American Trademark Team of the Year, and Latin American Team of the Year over the past decade.
The current senior corporate counsel for IP at Amazon was able to accomplish all of this as in-house counsel, without a traditional US background, and, for most of her career, by doing it all in a second language.
“I’ve been managing over a hundred firms globally as part of portfolio management, but I’ve never worked in a firm,” Arredondo says. “There isn’t just one path to get where you want to be. My career development hasn’t been stifled because I didn’t go to an Ivy League school in the US or work in a firm. My diversity, culture, and background have all been helpful in becoming the lawyer I am and want to be.”
Arredondo’s IP work at Amazon involves supporting new-to-world products and services that make people’s lives better and more entertaining: products like Echo, Fire, and Ring, among others. She also manages emerging issues for the team like artificial intelligence (AI), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the metaverse.
“We provide legal advice and support to the device and advertising business on trademark and copyright matters,” Arredondo explains. “We dive deep on naming strategy, IP enforcement, prosecution, licensing, marketing, and general advice on anything related to trademarks or copyrights. It’s fascinating and an ever-evolving challenge.”
It’s a small wonder that Arredondo came to Amazon at all. Two days before she was scheduled to fly for her final interview to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters from her home in Mexico City, the 2017 earthquake collapsed more than forty buildings, killing hundreds and injuring thousands.
“The company knew quickly how serious it was,” Arredondo says. “They called immediately to ask if I was OK and said that they’d be happy to reschedule the interview. But my husband encouraged me to go, and so I did. My gut told me that this was going to be a fabulous opportunity and my dream job.”
After landing the job, Arredondo and her family moved from Mexico City to Seattle. Having spent her entire life either in Mexico or just over the Mexico-US border, the culture shock was immediate. Suddenly, Arredondo and her family became a minority. Instead of letting that new reality adversely affect her, she decided to lean into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work both through Amazon and outside the organization and encourage opportunity for others through mentoring.
Arredondo is part of Amazon’s legal diversity leadership team, and she’s focused on university partnerships and recruiting opportunities. The senior counsel drives initiatives to engage with institutions with large, underserved populations.
She also helped create and implement an internship program that takes place each summer. Law firm interns participate in the two-week Amazon Day 1 Legal Academy that includes programming, practice-area panels, mock interviews, fireside chats with leaders and lawyers, mentorship, and networking events.
“We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone that has been involved with the program, interns and Amazon participants alike,” Arredondo says. “The goal with the Day 1 Legal Academy is to help increase diversity within our firms and build a pipeline for students from diverse backgrounds. I hope to welcome them to Amazon someday as fellow lawyers.”
Arredondo also supports the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) as part of the Pathways Advisory Committee, and the LMJ Scholarship Selection Committee. She organizes Amazon’s legal delegation to MCCA and mentoring opportunities. In 2023, she was set to work with the Chief IP professionals (ChIPs) in the same capacity.
Along with her extensive DEI work, Arredondo has acted as cochair of the Global Advisory Council for Latin America, vice chair of the Internet Committee, and chair of the Social Media and Mobile Applications subcommittee for the International Trademark Association (INTA). She also serves as president of the Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability Committee for the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI).
The lawyer says Amazon has more than supported this work. “I’m really lucky that Amazon allows me to make space to do this; it’s not something I do outside of my job. I view it as one of the most important parts of my job, and I’m very grateful Amazon and my team encourage it.”
In working for a global company, Arredondo wants to make sure that Amazon’s customers are well-represented along the entire pipeline, from its content and IP to the people making it, to those tasked with protecting it, and to end users who enjoy it. “More diverse perspectives at the table result in better outcomes for customers and everyone.”
The mother of two and her family have made Seattle home but return to Mexico to spend time with friends and family whenever they get the chance. Arredondo’s children will have the chance to see firsthand that with the right mindset and the right motivation, any path can be the right one.