Counterfeit Sellers Sued By Amazon.com
For the first time ever, Amazon isn’t just suspending counterfeit sellers — they're taking them to court.
They claimed that the defendants in these cases “infringed their trademarks, sold counterfeit products online, falsely advertised the products, committed unfair competition and designated a false origin for the products.”
This breaking news is more evidence that Amazon is taking customer trust more seriously than ever before.
"When customers purchase counterfeit goods, it undermines the trust that customers, sellers, and manufacturers place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon's brand and causing irreparable reputational harm.” - Amazon
Amazon’s no-tolerance policy and new willingness to litigate against counterfeit sellers seems to be a move to protect legitimate sellers as well as consumer experience.
Counterfeit Sellers: Who Was Affected?
According to sources, the first lawsuit was filed against a seller offering fake versions of the Forearm Forklift and TRX Suspension Trainer workout bands. A subsequent cases was filed against Fitness Anywhere LLC, and it’s unclear whether more will follow.
This isn’t the only time major retailers have cracked down against inauthentic or counterfeit sellers either. Brands like Apple, Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Gucci, Adidas, Chanel, and more have filed lawsuits against individual sellers before and sometimes against platforms like Amazon as well.
The difference between those past cases and Amazon’s most recent ones, however, are that it’s the first time Amazon has gone after counterfeit sellers using its own platform in court. Amazon claims that it spends tens of millions of dollars combatting counterfeit sellers and will continue to crack down on them. Based on their willingness to file lawsuits, it doesn’t seem like this legal response will be going away anytime soon.
Should You Be Worried?
Most likely not. However, if you sell on Amazon and want to protect yourself against claims of counterfeiting or inauthentic items, there are a few things you should do.
● Research Your Source - before signing on with a new wholesale provider, do your due diligence. Are they providing legitimate goods? Are they a reputable distributor? What are their reviews like?
● Keep Documentation - if you end up facing a counterfeit claim against you, you’ll need to prove your items are the real deal. Keep copies of your invoices, packing slips, order forms, etc. Make sure they have all the necessary information (including description of items, price, sizes, colors, origin, distributor contact information, dates, etc.)
● Maintain High Packaging Standards - sometimes customer expectations don’t match reality. When they receive an item from you and it doesn’t meet their idea of what they anticipated receiving, they may file a complaint against you. If this happens, you’ll have to prove yourself to Amazon again. When adding products for sale, make sure that you understand customers’ expectations and thoroughly explain what they can expect to receive to proactively minimize this risk.
● Understand the Difference - There are a few differences between inauthentic and counterfeit sellers and products.
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Counterfeit sellers may or may not be aware of their items’ legitimacy, but in the eyes of Amazon, ignorance does not excuse selling counterfeit goods.
Sometimes no matter how prepared you are, you could face a counterfeit or inauthentic item complaint either due to a customer’s mistake or because a competitor wants to slow you down. Either way, you’ll need to put together a Plan of Action as part of your Amazon suspension appeal that includes proof of your products’ authenticity.
If that does happen to you, contact an Amazon lawyer to help you put together a plan of action. Only lawyers are professionally qualified to defend you in a counterfeit sellers case, Amazon suspension, or Amazon lawsuit.