Amazon sued over counterfeits once again

E-commerce giant Amazon is facing yet another lawsuit after the makers of the Snuggie blanket and other products went to court claiming trademark infringement from "astronomical" numbers of counterfeits sold via the online marketplace.

Manufacturers Allstar Marketing Group LLC, Ideavillage Products Corp and Ontel Products Corp brought the case against Amazon alleging the online marketplace had allowed its product display pages to be "hijacked" by counterfeiters from countries in Asia who were taking a "free ride" on the brand names' successes.

They allege that Amazon has not made moves to stop the sale of their fakes, which are in the thousands.

The manufacturers make products including the Snuggie sleeved blanket, Copper Fit compression sleeves and Magic Tracks toy racetracks, all of which are mainly sold on the TV.

The companies claim they have lost profits from the presence of online fakes, which are being sold at a "rampant rate", while their reputations have taken a hit as a result of negative reviews by customers who have bought the counterfeit products.

They also accuse Amazon of copyright infringement and violating New York state false advertising and unfair competition laws, and are seeking millions of dollars in lost profits and punitive damages through the lawsuit.

"Amazon has taken no action to prevent the sale of such counterfeit products despite having the knowledge, opportunity and means to do so," the companies said.

This is not the first lawsuit against Amazon on the grounds of counterfeit products sold on its platform. Last month, a US family sued the e-commerce site for $30m alleging that a hoverboard toy that was bought off Amazon was counterfeit and caught fire, destroying the family's $1m home.

While the criticisms against Amazon over its approach to counterfeiters have recently intensified – a music industry group has made claims of a "serious counterfeit operation" on the site and shoemaker Birkenstock pulled its products earlier this year claiming the site's lacklustre anti-counterfeiting stance – the e-commerce giant has been seen to be making strides to fight fakes.

Last month, the online marketplace filed two lawsuits against vendors allegedly selling fake goods, and just this month reports suggested Amazon was making anti-counterfeiting a top priority for 2017 by introducing a new, stricter registration initiative to make it harder for counterfeiters to sell fakes on its platform.

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