Amazon and Ferragamo sue counterfeiters for allegedly selling fake belts
Amazon on Thursday filed two lawsuits against suspected counterfeiters who attempted to use the retail giant’s platform to sell copies of belts made by designer Salvatore Ferragamo. The Italian luxury brand has joined the lawsuits, targeting a group of individuals and businesses largely based in China.
The alleged forgery scheme involved setting up third-party seller accounts on the Amazon platform and listing the fraudulent belts for sale. Sellers were able to evade Amazon’s automatic counterfeit detection process by omitting any word referring to the Ferragamo brand in their posts, and instead calling the items as “Men’s Comfort Leather Fashion Belt,” according to the. trial. The accompanying image would show a belt with a Ferragamo brand design.
The lawsuits, one of many filed over the past year, alleging infringement networks, ask the court to order the defendants to never sell on Amazon again. They are also asking the defendants to remit to Ferragamo the income they earned from fraudulent sales and to pay the brand’s legal costs. The sellers keep creating new accounts and trying to sell the counterfeit products. Amazon itself is not responsible under consumer protection laws for the sale of illegal products by third party sellers.
“We do not allow counterfeit products in our store, and we have made it clear that we are taking aggressive measures to hold accountable bad actors who attempt to evade our proactive protections,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of customer trust and support from Amazon partners. , in a report. Mehta cited the ongoing work of Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting unit, adding, “We will continue to fight to protect the intellectual property of small family businesses through Fortune 500 companies.”
The defendants in a lawsuit are named Zhoa Hao Jun and Zhang Lianfa and have the seller names zhaoha032ojun and cangzhoushuofengdianzikejiZZ respectively, as well as another seller with the account name cangzhoushuofengdianzikejiyouxiangongsi. All are believed to reside in China. In the second trial, the two individual defendants are named Li Yong, with the account name Phil Baldine; and Wu Pianpian, with the account name Hefei Yanzi Trading Company. Both are believed to have ties to the United States and China. Two additional accounts are named, Yantaitianmingwangluokejiyouxiangongsi and Hefeizanzishangmaoyouxiangongsi. CNET was unable to reach the defendants for comment.
Counterfeiting has damaged Amazon’s reputation for years, and in March 2020, Mehta took the prevalence of counterfeits for sale on the Amazon store. Since then, Amazon has formed its counterfeit unit to on his site. The company has also filed numerous lawsuits against counterfeiters, most of whom presumably reside in China. Thursday’s legal complaints follow similar lawsuits filed Wednesday by Amazon with U.S. card game maker Dutch Blitz. Amazon has prosecuted suspected counterfeiters in at least 11 lawsuits since 2019 and filed after starting the anti-counterfeiting team.about
The company also launched a Trademark Registry in 2017 that allows brand owners to sell on Amazon and requires further scrutiny for other third-party sellers who want to sell branded wares to prove the goods are legitimate. He also created Project Zero in 2019, a service for vendors that allows them to find and remove counterfeit products for sale on Amazon, and feed fraudulent account data into Amazon’s AI system to identify counterfeits. Amazon claims to have invested more than $ 500 million in the fight against counterfeits on its platform since 2019.
Consumer advocates warn Amazon doesn’t have a strong enough incentive to curb copied or illegal products, which don’t just put customers at risk of buying a fake leather belt. A Wall Street Journal investigation found thousands of questionable or counterfeit products on sale from third-party sellers, including a reclining infant sleep mat, the FDA has warned, may cause suffocation. Changing consumer protection laws to hold e-commerce platforms accountable should be on the table, said David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports, during testimony before members of the House Energy and Trade Committee.
“Congress should give very careful consideration to proposals to give platforms more legal incentives to police and respond to abuses, including incurring liability when they are, or should be, reasonably aware of unsafe products or illegal behavior on its platforms. “
the Shop Safe Act, a 2020 bill that would have created liability for companies like Amazon when third-party sellers sell illegal products, was not passed in the House of Representatives.