In March 2018, four major lawsuits filed by Amazon against counterfeiters were reported by Securing Industry, a trade publication dedicated to retail loss prevention. Three of the lawsuits claimed copyright infringement against Vera Bradley, a major American fashion designer; the other case involved counterfeiting of OtterBox, a company that manufactures and sells iPhone cases and accessories.
The Vera Bradley lawsuits were augmented by law enforcement actions conducted by the United States Customs and Border Protection agency. Earlier this year, customs agents intercepted two shipments of fake Vera Bradley handbags sent from Hong Kong and China to the registered addresses of third-party sellers who operate in the Amazon Marketplace. In the OtterBox case, a test purchase resulted in the shipment of a counterfeit iPhone case bearing the brand’s styling, logo and other intellectual property.
The Fight Against Rogue Sellers
For brand managers and e-commerce entrepreneurs, learning about the legal actions taken by Amazon against counterfeiters is certainly encouraging. Nonetheless, it is important to understand certain background aspects of how and why Amazon is becoming more proactive in this regard.
The open nature of the Amazon Marketplace makes it easy for drop shippers, fakers and unscrupulous sellers to operate. There is a digital structure at the heart of the massive Amazon e-commerce platform, and this means that hackers and rogue sellers can figure out nefarious techniques to trick shoppers and take advantage of honest merchants.
The Gray Area
The Amazon “gray market,” the marketplace segment of dishonest sellers, is problematic enough to keep major brands such as Birkenstock and Michael Kors away from this internet bazaar. It took considerable prodding and negotiating from Nike to list its products on Amazon; the iconic sporting goods brand was rightfully concerned about the proliferation of counterfeiters on the third-party marketplace, but a strategic agreement resulted in certain changes to benefit all independent sellers.
Shoppers looking for Nike products on Amazon can now do so with greater confidence that they will not be scammed by counterfeiters, and this reassurance can be attributed to the fact that loss prevention specialists from Nike are constantly investigating suspicious activity on the marketplace. As soon as copyright infringement, counterfeiting or unauthorized sales are detected by Nike, the Amazon legal department intervenes.
The agreement between Nike and Amazon led to the creation of the Brand Registry and Brand Gating programs, which provide some level of brand protection; however, there is still a need for monitoring and documenting suspicious activity on the marketplace.
Protecting Your Brand With Active Monitoring
Business owners who have generated 10 or more Amazon Standard Identification Numbers for their products will need a reliable brand protection tool to keep an eye on the marketplace; this is exactly what Brandlox does.
Look to Brandlox for Product Protection
With Brandlox, the leading brand protection tool for Amazon sellers, ASINs are monitored around the clock. Brandlox immediately reports suspicious Amazon activity. For example, an unauthorized seller listing against an ASIN would result in an immediate notification sent to the rightful owner. Other useful features of Brandlox include keeping records that can be reviewed by Amazon Seller Support and the legal department, generating and sending cease-and-desist notices, and conducting test purchases to catch counterfeiters.
The problem with Amazon counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers go beyond lost sales; the real damage is when shoppers start complaining and leaving negative reviews. Success in the Amazon Marketplace will largely depend on your ability to build your brand. Learn more about protecting your brand by contacting a Brandlox e-commerce consultant. If you have listed 10 or more products on the Amazon Marketplace, you need a reliable monitoring solution that works around the clock. Call 1-866-848+6072 today!