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Amazon helps Chinese authorities fight against counterfeit trade

Multinational brands have complained for years about the multi-billion dollar trade in counterfeit products originating from China, pushing Chinese authorities to seize fake goods and eliminate supply chains in the country.


A recent collaboration between the online giant Amazon and Chinese law enforcement resulted in the seizure of 240,000 counterfeit goods in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Jiangxi.


According to the company, Intelligence provided by the Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) helped authorities locate the products, including 130,000 counterfeit car accessories infringing the IP rights of brands including BMW, Porsche and General Motors, as well as around 80,000 counterfeit luxury items.


The seizure also included over 30,000 items of counterfeit clothing and fake brand labels that infringed IP owned by brands such as Hugo Boss, Puma, Lacoste and Under Armour.


Three counterfeiting operations in China were successfully disrupted thanks to the information provided by the giant online retailer.


Authorities detained the main suspects, and “any infringing listings connected to these cases have been eliminated,” said an Amazon statement.


“This latest effort adds to the more than 3 million counterfeit products Amazon identified, seized, and appropriately disposed of last year, which included counterfeits sent to Amazon’s fulfillment centers in an unsuccessful attempt to sell to Amazon customers,” it added.


“Amazon has also cooperated with local PSBs (Public Security Bureaus) in China on operations involving bad actors that illegally purchased government-issued personal identities and business licenses in an attempt to register fraudulent Amazon seller accounts. As a result, 84 individuals were detained. Last year, Amazon stopped more than 2.5 million attempts by bad actors around the world to create new selling accounts, preventing them from listing a single product for sale.”


Amazon recently published a behind-the-scenes video, which followed a joint operation by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department based on intelligence provided by the company. This operation resulted in the seizure of 10,000 counterfeit vehicle grilles, estimated to be worth around $1.2 million.


The online retailer has been working closely with brand owners (through the filing of joint lawsuits), as well as with local authorities to carry out joint seizure operations and fight against counterfeiters.


The trade in fake goods affects not only Amazon's direct customers - it also hurts brand owners and other entities throughout the supply chain. Counterfeiting is closely linked to organized crime groups and other illicit activities such as money-laundering and drug-trafficking.

Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of Amazon’s Worldwide Selling Partner Services, said in the press release: “There is no place for fraud on Amazon. The production and sale of counterfeit goods poses serious harm to the intellectual property rights of the brands involved, as well as to the legitimate interests of honest sellers—and the customers who place their trust in our stores. While we are proud of the progress we have made, we will not stop until we drive counterfeits to zero, and we will continue to invest and innovate until we get there.”


Amazon's online brand protection tools are a great resource for international brand owners to fight against infringing products on the platform. A strong collaboration with labels and local authorities can disrupt the counterfeit supply chain and help prevent hundreds of thousands of fake products from ever reaching Amazon's online platforms.


The continuation of this relationship between Amazon, brand owners and law enforcement to tackle the threats posed by counterfeiters is extremely encouraging.


To learn more about our services in China, contact our Head of Business Advisory - Ms. Kristina Koehler-Coluccia at kristina@woodburnglobal.com.


DISCLAIMER: All information in this article is verified to the best of our ability and is assumed to be correct at time of release; however, Woodburn Accountants & Advisors does not accept responsibility for any losses arising from reliance on the information provided within. The information provided is for general guidance and does not replace specialized advice.


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