Amazon launches Counterfeit Crimes Unit

Published on: 26th June 2020

The online marketplace, which has faced criticism over the sale of counterfeit and dangerous toys on its third-party platforms, aims to ‘bring counterfeiters to justice’. 

Amazon has established a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit in an effort to crack down on counterfeiters and those selling counterfeit products on its site. According to an official statement, the global, multi-disciplinary team is composed of former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators and data analysts, who it says will “join Amazon’s extensive work to drive counterfeit to zero.”

Amazon, which announced revenues of $75.4b in the first three months of the year, has long come under fire for what many perceive to be the unregulated sale of counterfeit or dangerous goods on its platform, including toys and games. Denmark recently threatened to block the e-tail giant if it didn’t do more to stop the sale of dangerous products on its platforms, while the Trump administration has accused Amazon of tolerating counterfeit sales in five international territories, naming Amazon websites in Canada, the UK, Germany, France and India on its list of ‘notorious markets’.

Amazon says the CCU’s first objective is to prevent counterfeit products from ever being listed on its store. The unit will also investigate sellers attempting to bypass Amazon’s systems in order to sell counterfeit goods, pursuing civil litigation where necessary, as well as helping brands enforce IP rights and working with law enforcement on prosecutions.

This is not the first time Amazon has made moves to address the issue. In 2018, the marketplace set up Project Zero with the goal of eliminating counterfeit products from the site by giving companies the ability to remove counterfeit products themselves. An invitation-only programme, only Amazon’s chosen brands are allowed to join and remove listings.

“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,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president, Customer Trust and Partner Support, Amazon. “We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and 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 because criminal enforcement – through prosecution and other disruption measures such as freezing assets – is one of the most effective ways to stop them.”


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