Amazon establishes new anti-counterfeiting unit

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Amazon pledges to take stronger legal actions against counterfeiting. A new interdisciplinary team is to take care of this, by enforcing against counterfeiting and violations of Amazon’s policies. For this, the e-commerce company signs on support from US judiciary circles too.

Amazon plans to take stronger action against counterfeiters who abuse the online marketplace for their illegal business. For this, the Internet giant has now set up a new anti-counterfeiting unit, the so-called Counterfeit Crimes Unit. This is to help further prevent fraudulent listings, and to bring those responsible to justice.

In its new unit, Amazon brings together a global, interdisciplinary team including former US federal prosecutors, investigators, and data analysts. For instance, a long-time employee of the US Department of Justice has joined Amazon and will take over the management of the new unit, reports the FAZ. “Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located”, says Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon, in a statement issued by the company.

The Counterfeit Crimes Unit is to investigate those cases where counterfeiters tried to circumvent Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting systems. To do so, the unit will analyze internal and external data, also including information from payment service providers. This is to enable Amazon to pursue civil proceedings against fraudulent providers more effectively, for example, and to conduct investigations independently or together with brand owners. The company also announced that it wants to support law enforcement authorities worldwide.

„We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks“, says Mehta. However, Amazon also sees the governments as responsible and campaigns for more support for law enforcement agencies. “We applaud the law enforcement authorities who are already part of this fight. We urge governments to give these authorities the investigative tools, funding, and resources they need to bring criminal counterfeiters to justice”.

Amazon is often accused of not doing enough against counterfeiting. The US Trade Representative Peter Navarro, for example, recently criticized in the Washington Post that Amazon does not stop counterfeiters, even though this would be possible. Recently, former employees had accused the company, among other things, of deliberately neglecting the fight against counterfeits. Amazon, on the other hand, refers to its anti-counterfeiting measures, in which it has invested around 500 million US dollars (around 444 million euros) in 2019. As a result, six billion suspicious offers and more than 2.5 million users are reported to have been blocked. In addition, the company says it identified counterfeiters in several countries in May and passed on information about them to the respective authorities, for example in Germany, Spain, Italy, the UAE, and the USA.

An improved cooperation with law enforcement agencies was already announced by Amazon at the beginning of the year. Moreover, the company for example made headlines in 2019 with its Project Zero, with which Amazon wanted to crack down on counterfeiting – but which also earned accusations that Amazon wanted to profit from the counterfeiting problem it had created itself.

Sources: Amazon, FAZ, Washington Post

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