Amazon launches counterfeiter-tracking database

Amazon has launched a new initiative that will see participating retail stores record and track serial counterfeiters in order to create a communal database of bad actors.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Exchange (ACX) aims to make it safer for consumers to shop online, and more difficult for counterfeiters to move among different retail stores to attempt to sell their counterfeit goods.

According to the online retail giant, ACX participants will be able to contribute information and records on confirmed counterfeiters anonymously to a third-party hosted database, and also use the information provided by other brans to aid their own anti-counterfeiting efforts on their respective stores.

The system is analogous to data exchange programmes run by the credit card industry to identify scammers, and was piloted in Seattle in 2021 with apparel, home goods and cosmetics stores, according to a Reuters report. Now, Amazon is inviting other retailers and marketplace service providers to join the programme.

Amazon claims that the ACX initiative has “already detected hundreds of matching accounts where the same counterfeiter tried to create selling accounts on Amazon and at least one other store operator.”

“The power of ACX comes from the fact that as soon as one of the participating stores catches a counterfeiter and shares the account information through the exchange, all the other stores participating in ACX can know about that counterfeiter and can stop them even more quickly in their store,” it continues.

The cross-company initiative ties in with Amazon’s 2021 blueprint to tackle counterfeit sales, which envisions an information-sharing network between private companies and public bodies including law enforcement to stop criminals from quickly selling their illegal products across multiple channels, including their own websites, online marketplaces, and offline channels.

The move was welcomed by James Mancuso, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre, which participated in setting up the ACX.

“This is an opening salvo in a much larger battle against counterfeiters and criminal organisations, and the effort will need even greater participation, from all industries and sectors, to reach its full potential,” he said.

Earlier this month, Amazon said it had removed more than six million counterfeit products from its supply chain in its annual update on brand protection activities and blocked 800,000 attempts to create new selling accounts, while its Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) sued or referred for investigation over 1,300 criminals in the US, UK, EU, and China.

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