Amazon files fresh lawsuit against influencers

E-commerce giant Amazon has filed another legal attack against social media influencers it accuses of using their online platforms to encourage the sale of counterfeit luxury goods.

The lawsuit against Kamryn Russell, Ashley Hawat and various associates claims that they used a 'hidden links' scheme, in which they posted links on their social media pages that directed their followers to seemingly generic product listing pages on Amazon, that were in fact fronts for counterfeit handbags, jewellery and accessories.

According to the complaint, the defendants masked the fact that the products infringed trademarks to avoid detection by Amazon and the rights holder, in many cases by blurring the brand's logo, and received a commission on each completed sale.

"Russell and Hawat's social media posts then made it clear to their followers that if they purchased these seemingly non-infringing and non-branded products, they would actually receive counterfeit luxury products," said Amazon.

"These bad actors also urged their followers to buy these products before Amazon could take down the listings."

In social media posts, Hawat explicitly acknowledged Amazon's efforts to remove the infringing products, showing she was aware that the hidden links scheme was illicit. In one post she wrote in reference to a luxury beach bag, "[Amazon] will be taking down so quickly!! Ordering this now!!"

Meanwhile, In another post where Hawat listed multiple counterfeit items she was promoting, she remarked "& that's really it for Amazon! Links get taken down so fast! So far that's all that's back up!"

Amazon previously filed lawsuits against two other social media influencers, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci, accusing them of promoting counterfeits through Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts. The cases were settled out of court in 2021, and Amazon donated settlement payments to the International Trademark Association's Unreal Campaign that educates 14 to 23 year olds on the importance of intellectual property rights.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a new initiative called the Anti-Counterfeiting Exchange (ACX) that it said would allow participating retail stores to record and track serial counterfeiters in order to create a communal database of bad actors.

It also 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.

"These bad actors knew exactly what they were doing when they attempted to evade Amazon's brand protection systems to sell counterfeit products that clearly infringed on brands' intellectual property rights," said Kebharu Smith, director of Amazon's CCU.

"Content creators serve an important role for consumers around the globe, and these lawsuits not only seek to protect Amazon and the affected brands, but also seek to hold accountable those who diminish the role of legitimate content creators."

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top