Amazon settles fakes lawsuit with social media influencers

Amazon has agreed to end its legal action against two social media influencers who were accused of using promoting counterfeit goods to their followers.

The online retail giant said Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci were knowingly “promoting, advertising, and facilitating the sale of counterfeit luxury fashion goods” through their Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts.

They directed followers to product listings on Amazon's platform that evaded anti-counterfeit measures by appearing to be generic, non-infringing products, according to the lawsuit.

A feature of the activity was a so-called “Order this/Get this” ploy. The listings promoted using social media might be for a generic wallet style, for example – making them hard to detect. However, tipped off purchasers would be aware that they would in fact receive a knock-off.

Test purchases revealed the fakes included copycat Gucci belts, tote bags, purses, and sunglasses, Disney wallets and Dior handbags and bracelets.

Under the terms of the settlement deal, Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci will make payments to Amazon, which will be donated to charities including the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Unreal Campaign which tries to educate 14 to 23 year olds about the importance of intellectual property rights.

Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci have also agreed to "fully and unconditionally" cooperate with Amazon's legal action against other defendants in the lawsuits, mainly from China, who were involved with the supply, promotion and sale of counterfeit products.

They are also prohibited from "directly or indirectly marketing, advertising, linking to, promoting, or selling any products of any kind on Amazon’s store in the future" without express written authorisation from the company.

The two also offered apologies for their actions. Kelly-Krejci said: "I appreciate the opportunity to resolve this dispute and to assist Amazon," while Fitzpatrick added: "I would warn others engaged in similar conduct on social media that there will be serious consequences for their actions."

Kebharu Smith, director of Amazon's recently formed Counterfeit Crimes Unit, said the settlement "sends a strong message to would-be bad actors that Amazon will find you and hold you fully accountable."

The company says that in 2020  it blocked 10bn listings it suspected of peddling fake goods, before they could be put on sale, and seized and destroyed more than 2m products at its fulfilment centres before they were delivered to consumers.

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