Amazon, Prada claim landmark victory against counterfeiter

A legal dispute in China has resulted in a victory for Amazon and luxury brand Prada after an individual accused of selling counterfeit Prada products on the online retail platform pleaded guilty to the charges brought.

The unnamed person has been sentenced to three years in prison, will pay a $25,000 fine, and forfeit all revenue gained from the sale of counterfeit goods, according to an Amazon statement. In addition, an inventory of counterfeit goods owned by the individual will be seized and destroyed.

Amazon said the case was a “unique and landmark” example in the fight against counterfeiters and a “turning point” for intellectual property rights (IPR) owners trying to defend their brands from counterfeiters.

It added that the guilty plea represents a rare instance where a criminal referral from Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) resulted in a criminal judgment “primarily based on the evidence of overseas counterfeit sales records and fulfilment centre inventory records outside of China, and not on seized counterfeit products.”

The CCU detected the defendant’s attempted counterfeiting in 2021, and following internal investigations, Amazon provided a criminal referral to the relevant regional Chinese enforcement agency, or public security bureau (PSB), to pursue a criminal case.

Kebharu Smith, director of the CCU, said the result “would not have been possible without the collaboration with law enforcement and luxury players such as the Prada Group.”

Prada Group general counsel and chief legal officer Francesca Secondari added that it underlines the “great progress” the company is making “in the fight against those who attempt to break the law and to negatively impact our customers.”

Amazon set up the CCU in 2020, shortly after some of its international sites were included in the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 list of notorious markets that allow “substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.”

The retail giant says it identified, seized, and disposed of more than six million counterfeit items in 2022 in its ongoing crackdown on the suppliers of infringing goods.

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