IACC and Amazon agreement to enhance anti-counterfeiting efforts
On World Intellectual Property (IP) Day (April 26th), the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and Amazon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the aim of enhancing their collaboration and anti-counterfeiting efforts.
This should be good news for brand owners, particularly when there is much in the press about Amazon’s counterfeit problem. British newspaper and international news site, The Guardian just conducted an investigation and noted that “Amazon’s Marketplace is rife with potentially dangerous counterfeits and other knockoff goods”.
Amazon say they do not tolerate counterfeit goods and is investing heavily to prevent it. Their Brand Registry, which was overhauled in May 2017, allows companies to enroll their IP Rights i.e. trademarks and verified product images so Amazon can scan for counterfeits. According to Amazon, its team responds to 93% of potential infringement notices within four hours.
However, many brands are still complaining that Amazon simply isn’t doing enough. Whilst larger luxury brands can choose to not sell on such marketplaces, it isn’t always an option for smaller brands. Marketplaces are where most of their sales are generated, unfortunately it’s also where they lose a lot of revenue due to illegal counterfeits, and it’s not always possible for them to police the huge problem. If they do find infringing products, it’s a very costly and time-consuming process for them to tackle, and their only legal recourse, is to try go after the companies listing the counterfeit goods and not pursuing against Amazon itself. Amazon has not yet been found liable for selling counterfeit products on its site as the law generally protects e-commerce sites from being responsible for what third-party actors are selling.
Of course, the problem is not limited to Amazon, other online marketplaces, such as Walmart, eBay, TaoBao and Newegg, have also been accused of selling counterfeits. Earlier this year, Federal investigators reported that over 42% of products that they purchased from a number of well-known marketplaces were deemed to be counterfeit. Again, all of the above-mentioned marketplaces claim to have anti-counterfeit programs in place, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Following this report, Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, announced he would convene a Senate hearing on the issue.
Let’s hope this new collaboration reaches its goals and more is done to protect brand owners on Amazon an all online marketplaces, before it escalates further.
Yellow Brand Protection provide advice on how to prevent your brand from being counterfeited online and how to report infringements on a number of online marketplaces. If you would like any further assistance on how to protect your brand on marketplaces and other online channels, please request a free Brand Protection Status Report today.