Under fire Amazon adds IP-based anti-counterfeit service

Amazon has rolled out another component in its anti-counterfeit toolset, aimed at making it easier for smaller companies to get legal help to protect their intellectual property (IP).

The new Amazon IP Accelerator is designed to help companies from around the world get US trademark and other IP rights in the US, and to connect them with pre-vetted lawyers who can help them navigate the process at “competitive rates”.

The service sits alongside Amazon’s other anti-counterfeit proposals such as Project Zero, which deploys a machine learning algorithm that can scans listings for suspected counterfeits and automatically takes them down – and a product serialization service called Transparency that allows products from participating companies to be scanned and verified before shipping.

“We created IP Accelerator specifically with small and medium businesses in mind, and IP Accelerator helps these entrepreneurs by making it easier and more cost effective to protect their ideas,” said the online retail giant in a blog post.

“Expert legal guidance is critical for businesses to protect their brands and avoid costly mistakes in the trademark filing process.”

In practical terms, companies going down the registration route will benefit from earlier access to protections such as automated blocks on bad listings on Amazon’s stores, increased authority over product data, and access to Amazon’s ‘report a violation’ tool.

Amazon has come under increasing criticism of late from brand owners who claim the online retailer isn’t doing enough to drive counterfeits off its platforms, and particularly its Marketplace area for third-party sellers that is steadily accounting for an increasing proportion of total transactions.

Just this week the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) which represents more than 1,000 brands, called for Amazon’s sites in India and France to be added to the US government’s list of “Notorious Markets” this year.

Last year the AAFA said Amazon’s Canadian, UK, and German sites should also be included, the first time that it had targeted the retail giant for inclusion in the list.

“Despite its role as a leader in the worldwide retail landscape, and as an important selling partner for many of our member brands, Amazon continues to present significant counterfeit challenges,” said the AAFA in a the letter to the US Trade Representative (USTR).

“Thus, we felt it was necessary to again ask USTR to list Amazon”, which it said still needed to do more to address the issue of counterfeits on its sites.

Amazon officially acknowledged its counterfeit problem for the first time this year. And in July, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia reversed a lower court ruling that Amazon cannot be held liable as a seller of products from third-party vendors, bucking the trend seen in earlier court cases.

In a statement issued in response to the AAFA move, Amazon said it “is committed to working with AAFA and its members to protect their intellectual property.”

It claims to have invested $400m in personnel and tools built on machine learning and data science to protect customers from fraud and abuse in 2018, and in that year “stopped over a million suspected bad actors from opening Amazon selling accounts before they published a single listing for sale.”

It also says it blocked more than three billion suspected bad listings before they were published.

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