Amazon sued by retailer over counterfeit allegations

Amazon on iPad Amazon and Apple are facing a legal challenge from an electronics retailer accused of selling counterfeit goods.

Hard 2 Find Accessories (H2FA) claims Amazon wrongly took down its product listings, at Apple’s request, causing it to lose more than $180,000 a month and effectively shutting its business down. It also says the allegations of trading in counterfeits amounts to defamation.

Apple said that the products being sold were believed to be counterfeit because they were priced at a steep discount, while customer reviews suggested that they may not be genuine.

"Upon information and belief, Apple and Apple’s agents relied on anonymous Internet postings from the above-referenced customers in order to execute its takedown," it says.

H2FA received a communication from Amazon’s Seller Performance Team on June 14, 2013 which explained which products were at issue and under what circumstances. The products removed from the site were leather and polyurethane Apple iPad Smart Covers, for various generations of the iPad. H2FA claimed it had not had any communication from Apple or Amazon prior to the takedown.

Amazon’s policy on counterfeit merchandise says that "it is each seller's responsibility to source and sell only authentic products"  and it may suspend storefronts and even destroy inventory if it is convinced the seller is acting illegally. In reality it is a big challenge to monitor the thousands of independent merchants using its marketplace so of necessity relies on circumstantial evidence and complaints to identify wrongdoers.

Neither Apple nor Apple’s agents had communicated with the customers or obtained the alleged counterfeit items from them, according to the complaint. H2FA strenuously denies that the products being sold were counterfeit and suggests the actions of Amazon and Apple are "anti-competitive" and "conspiratory."

Dr. Cloud /

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