Amazon working on new brand protection suite: report

Amazon is working on a new suite of digital tools to tackle counterfeits on its website, according to a CNET report.

Citing unnamed sources, the technology publication says Amazon's toolkit – dubbed Brand Central – that will "help smaller sellers protect their trademarks and other intellectual property [and ensure] the source of products.

It's not the first action taken by the online retailer – in the summer it introduced listing fees and other administrative measures to try to discourage dodgy sellers, and it has also brought legal actions against suspected counterfeit vendors.

The move comes as the e-commerce giant is facing increasing criticism about the prevalence of fakes on its platforms from major brand owners such as Birkenstock and Apple, and just ahead of the Black Friday discount shopping bonanza and the build-up to Christmas.

Apple indicated in a court filing last month that it believed as much as 90 per cent of the items sold on Amazon bearing its trademarks are fake.

Under closest scrutiny is its third-party marketplace, which allows merchants to setup accounts and sell goods - it is estimated to account for around 40 per cent of all sales through the site. Critics say Amazon doesn't do enough to verify that goods sold in this way are legitimate, including those that are "fulfilled by Amazon" – in other words shipped from an Amazon warehouse.

In a statement, Amazon said it has "zero tolerance for counterfeits and has invested heavily in protecting the integrity of the Amazon marketplace for consumers, sellers and manufacturers," although it would not confirm the existence of Brand Central.

The programme looks like it may be an extension of Amazon's established Seller Central , a toolkit that is used by third-party vendors to list and maintain their inventories.

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