Amazon ‘will pass on more data to law enforcement’; report

Amazon is reportedly planning to hand over more data to US and European enforcement agencies relating to counterfeit products listed on its website.

According to a Reuters report, the online retail giant has decided to pass on information about sellers each time it confirms they have sold a counterfeit good, rather than holding on to the information until it thought it had enough evidence for enforcement action.

On each occasion, the merchant’s name, product and contact information will be reported and the account will be closed, subject to an appeals process.

The move is the latest of a series of measures introduced by Amazon over the last couple of years as it faces increasing criticism about listings for counterfeit products on its websites, and in particular the Marketplace section that allows listings by third-party sellers.

The news report says that an Amazon spokesperson, who spoke on condition of remaining anonymous, indicated this would increase “the frequency and volume of reporting to law enforcement.”

It also says that Amazon has been attending a series of meetings with government authorities and related organizations to discuss its new counterfeit reporting strategy and how the company can further their enforcement efforts, says Reuters.

There has been pressure from trade organisations such as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) in the last couple of years to get some Amazon sites included in the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 listing of notorious marketplaces for intellectual property-infringing goods, which currently includes Chinese online retailer Alibaba’s Taobao platform.

In a representation filed last year, the AAFA said Amazon’s Canadian, German, UK, French and Indian sites are particularly prone to counterfeit listings.

It has been reported that the Trump administration is giving serious consideration to the proposal, which may explain the reported heightened dialogue between Amazon and the US authorities.

For its part, Amazon insists it is taking strenuous efforts to tackle the issue of counterfeits. It has launched a suite of tools to help brand owners, including Project Zero for the automated takedown of suspect listings, Transparency product serialization service and new utility patents scheme for lookalike products that don’t directly infringe trademarks.

Last year, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on combating trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods that focused on third-party marketplaces like Alibaba, Amazon and eBay as well as “carriers, customs brokers, payment providers, vendors and others.”

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