The online retail giant said on Wednesday that it filed two joint lawsuits with Cartier against an unnamed social media influencer and eight businesses for allegedly promoting counterfeits on social media and other websites that were then sold on Amazon. The lawsuits were filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleging the businesses conspired together to sell counterfeits and falsely advertise them as real, infringing on Cartier’s trademarks, avoiding Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting detection tools and violating Amazon’s policies, according to the companies.
While items on Amazon were non-branded and listed with generic product descriptions to avoid detection by Amazon’s anti-counterfeit policies, the ads linking to the Amazon product pages used the Cartier brand name to sell the allegedly fake bracelets, necklaces and earrings, according to the companies. For instance, a counterfeit of the Cartier Love bracelet was listed on Amazon as “Women’s Fashion Classic Screw Love Titanium Steel Bracelet”.
Amazon has put more effort into detecting and removing counterfeit sellers from the site. According to the company’s second Brand Protection Report, published in 2022, Amazon stopped over 2.5 million attempts from bad actors to create new selling counts, down over 6 million compared to the previous year. The company also increased the number of brands on its Brand Registry tool, which detects infringements, leading to a 25 per cent decrease in infringements compared to the previous year.
Amazon has also begun working directly with luxury brands to remove fake products from its site; last February, Amazon filed two joint lawsuits with Ferragamo against counterfeiters, and in April, the companies said Chinese authorities had conducted an investigation and seized the counterfeit products. In June 2020, Amazon filed its first joint lawsuit with Valentino against New York-based Kaitlyn Pan Group for allegedly counterfeiting the brand’s Rockstud shoes, though the case was settled in January 2021.
“By using social media to promote counterfeits, bad actors undermine trust and mislead customers,” said Kebharu Smith, associate general counsel and director of the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit, in a statement. “Amazon will keep investing and innovating to stay ahead of counterfeiters and working with brands and law enforcement to hold bad actors accountable. We don’t just want to chase them away from Amazon — we want to stop them for good.”
Amazon has been making efforts to break into the luxury market: earlier this month, it rolled out its Luxury Stores concept to the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain after launching it two years ago with Oscar de la Renta and Roland Mouret, among others. However, experts say that the widespread selling of counterfeits and dupes by third-party sellers on the platform is holding the e-commerce behemoth back from elevating its position.
By publicising its condemnation of counterfeits, Amazon wants to signal its trustworthiness to the luxury sector. “Amazon is deeply committed to protecting brands’ intellectual property and strictly prohibits counterfeit products in its stores,” the company said in a statement, adding that it invested $900 million and employed 12,000 people to protect against counterfeits in 2021.
Source: Retail News Asia