Growing threat of counterfeit goods in the U.S.
"Agencies Can Improve Efforts to Address Risks Posed by Changing Counterfeits Markets." Is the title of a new report released by the US Government’s Accountability Office (GAO).
The GAO announced how it managed to purchase counterfeit products, including cosmetics and electronics from third-party sellers on some of the biggest and best-known e-commerce websites. Out of the 47 items bought, 20 of those were deemed to be fakes according to assessments by the IP Rights holders.
Following the announcement, all of the five e-commerce websites mentioned in the report, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Sears Marketplace and Newegg, claimed to have stringent procedures in place to tackle counterfeit products and that any sellers found to be offering fake items are removed from their marketplaces.
The report highlighted not only the negative economical impact of counterfeit goods but also the potential dangers they pose to consumers. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, announced he would convene a Senate hearing on the issue, and commented “The rise of eCommerce and online marketplaces has brought countless benefits to job creators and consumers around the globe, while at the same time increased threats to intellectual property protection and consumer confidence and safety. "These threats not only affect consumers' health and safety, but also have the potential to wreak havoc on our economy here at home."
In their review, the GAO have said that the CBP and ICE enforcement activities have not been the most efficient or effective. Their recommendation is for the CBP to evaluate its efforts to enhance IPR enforcement and assess opportunities for improved information sharing with the private sector.
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