Amazon strengthens anti-counterfeit measures

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Internet giant Amazon wants to expand its anti-counterfeiting program in the U.S. in order to remove fake products from its sites more quickly in the future. To facilitate that, brand owners will soon be able to register their logos and intellectual property with Amazon.

Starting in April, Amazon U.S. will be putting its new brand register into effect, according to Peter Faricy, Vice President of Amazon Marketplace. The aim of the new offensive is to allow for the immediate deletion of illegal product offers as soon as they are reported by customers. That way, counterfeit goods are to be taken offline much faster than before. In addition, Amazon intends to quickly suspend the accounts of fraudulent sellers.

Details on how Amazon’s new brand register will work are still unknown. However, extensive tests are said to have already been carried out in the U.S. So far, the only thing that is clear is that brand owners will be able to register their logos and intellectual property with Amazon in a dedicated database to qualify for participation in the new deletion procedures.

For Amazon, the new measure is the next step in the fight against counterfeiting on its trading platforms as well as the criticism the company received in recent months. At the beginning of the year, for example, shoe manufacturer Birkenstock withdrew from Amazon. A move triggered by the trade of illegal imitations of Birkenstock products on sites and the difficulties the company had had in removing the counterfeits (we reported).

Many dealers and customers are now airing their frustration on the internet (for example on the renowned social news site Hacker News) and criticize Amazon for ongoing counterfeit problems. Oftentimes, the company’s service “Fulfillment by Amazon” (FBA) seems to be the focus of criticism: With the service, Amazon offers its Marketplace vendors to store and ship goods for them. In the process Amazon’s own stocks may be mixed with that of third-party suppliers. By doing this, counterfeits could find their way into Amazon’s inventory and therefore also into the hands of customers; allegedly even with products that are sold directly by Amazon. “Not only are many counterfeit goods being sold through Amazon, but Amazon’s policies are directly encouraging this situation,” one online comment says.

Meanwhile, Amazon Marketplace Vice President Faricy emphasizes that there is hardly a final solution in the fight against product piracy. “I don’t think it’s the kind of thing where you ever feel like there’s a clear ending, it’s a journey.”

Sources: News18, Reuters, World Trademark Review,

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