The Office of the United States Trade Representative have released their 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, which highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. This year they’ve opted to put the big five Amazon Europe marketplaces on the list which you can download here.
“Today, the greatest risk of importation of counterfeit and pirated goods, harming both US content creators and US consumers, is posed not by foreign flea markets and dark web sites but by inadequate policies and inadequate action by ecommerce companies that market and sell foreign products to American consumers. Combatting piracy and counterfeits will require sustained effort by both the federal government and by companies that profit from the sale of such goods.”
– Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative
The 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy in particular cited Amazon UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain as marketplaces which they suggest have high levels of counterfeit goods.
“…Right holders expressed concern that the seller information displayed by Amazon is often misleading such that it is difficult for consumers and right holders alike to determine who is selling the goods. Right holders also expressed concern that Amazon does not sufficiently vet sellers on its platforms. They also commented that Amazon’s counterfeit removal processes can be lengthy and burdensome, even for right holders that enroll in Amazon’s brand protection programs.”
– 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy
There are two things to note here – firstly the outgoing President Trump really doesn’t like Amazon… it will be interesting to see if President elect Biden who becomes President tomorrow will have a more favourable view of Amazon, which let’s remember is a US company.
The second thing to note is that Amazon have done tons to stamp out counterfeits and protect brands and their IP. In June they launched the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit to crack down on the small number of dodgy products on the site. The Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit is a global, multi-disciplinary team composed of former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts, aiming to drive counterfeit to zero.
As a merchant you may also be only too familiar with Amazon’s attitude to counterfeits – if a customer has ever claimed one of your products as a fake you’ll know how quickly the customer is refunded and how hard it is to refute the claim and get your account back in good standing.
“Amazon has and always will be a trusted place to shop for authentic products. Including Amazon in this report is the continuation of a personal vendetta against Amazon, and nothing more than a desperate stunt in the final days of this administration. Amazon does more to fight counterfeit than any other private entity we are aware of. We’ve proactively blocked more than 6 billion suspected bad listings before they were published, launched industry-leading brand protection tools that enable rights owners to partner with us in driving counterfeits to zero, and worked with law enforcement by referring confirmed counterfeiters for prosecution and sharing intelligence to more effectively stop counterfeits at the border. As a result of these and other efforts, 99.9% of pages viewed by customers on Amazon have never had a valid report of counterfeit.”
– Amazon spokesperson