22 October 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Amazon partners with family business to halt fakes

Amazon has teamed up with childcare product manufacturer J.L. Childress to tackle counterfeit sellers on the e-commerce platform.

The suit, which was filed in August at the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, was unsealed yesterday, October 22.

The two companies had filed suit against 11 individuals, accusing them of selling counterfeit J.L. Childress products, including travel bags for car seats and strollers.

“We invest significant resources in proactively protecting our store, and in addition, we take aggressive action to hold bad actors accountable as we’ve done here,” said Cristina Posa, associate general counsel at Amazon and director of the company’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit.

This seems to be the first time Amazon has partnered with a small family-run business to take on counterfeiters in court, although it has previously partnered with larger companies.

In June, Amazon teamed up with fashion brand Valentino to file a joint lawsuit. The litigation was a first for both brands—it was Amazon’s first joint litigation with a luxury fashion brand and Valentino’s first joint litigation with an online retailer.

Amazon has sought to strengthen its anti-counterfeiting policies in recent years, amid criticism over the prevalence of infringing goods on the platform.

This April, Amazon accused the US government of having a “personal vendetta” against the Seattle-based e-commerce company, after it was branded a “notorious market” for counterfeits.

The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) included Amazon on the notorious markets list in its 2019 review, after complaints from rights owners.

Fashion and retail brands complained to USTR that Amazon often displayed “misleading” seller information and failed to sufficiently vet sellers.

Amazon, in response, said its inclusion on the list was a “purely political act”. The company points to its latest anti-counterfeiting measures, including Project Zero, which was expanded over the summer.

The Project Zero programme uses machine learning and automated systems to scan the platform for suspicious listings.

“Amazon strictly prohibits counterfeit products in its stores, and in 2019 alone, invested more than $500 million to protect customers and brands from fraud, abuse, and counterfeit,” the company’s latest statement said.

The company also launched its Counterfeit Crimes Unit in June, which is responsible for investigating infringement and bringing legal action, such as the latest suit filed with J.L. Childress.

A J.L. Childress statement said: “We appreciate the partnership with Amazon and hope our joint action will hold all bad actors accountable, as well as educate other small businesses to take due diligence in protecting their brands.”

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More on this story

19 June 2020   Amazon and fashion brand Valentino have filed a joint lawsuit against New York-based Kaitlyn Pan Group for allegedly counterfeiting Valentino’s famous Garavani Rockstud shoes.
24 June 2020   Amazon has established a counterfeit crimes unit, aimed at investigating, finding, and launching legal action and criminal referrals against counterfeiters.