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Amid Public’s Panic Buying, Amazon Steps Up Efforts to Combat Counterfeiters

As sales stall for many retailers across the country and the world, Amazon has become a lifeline for shoppers looking to get their hands on essential items.

But the retailer has long had to contend with a proliferation of counterfeit products on its platform, and that issue hasn’t abated in the wake of the health crisis.

On Thursday, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) announced an expansion of its partnership with the online marketplace that would offer insights into the counterfeit sales volumes of known bad actors.

According to the IACC, member brands will be able to leverage that sales information by targeting the most egregious infringers. Brands can point Amazon and law enforcement officers to concrete sales data that shows the losses they’ve suffered at the hands of counterfeiters, strengthening the case against them.

The visibility into these illicit sellers’ sales information is a critical step toward transparency between Amazon and the brands that sell on its platform. Amazon expects the expanded partnership will spur more criminal referrals and ultimately litigation against violators, helping to hold a greater number of them accountable, IACC said.

The effort will also help protect Amazon brands’ end consumers against the purchase of fakes.

Now in its third year, the IACC-Amazon program was designed to give brands an expedited path to resolve counterfeit issues, along with real-time feedback on how to handle their IP concerns.

“No one company, government or association alone can win the fight against fakes,” IACC president Bob Barchiesi said in a statement. “It takes committed partners from all sectors working together and learning from each other to stand a chance against these sophisticated counterfeit criminal networks.”

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The program has seen “real, practical and substantive results” in its three-year tenure, and the organization is looking for other ways to deepen and strengthen the partnership, Barchiesi said.

“Successfully driving counterfeits to zero in our stores require a joint effort between private and public sectors, partnerships with law enforcement, and ongoing collaboration with associations like the IACC,” Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of Amazon’s Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner Support team, said.

The program has informed different aspects of the company’s enforcement processes, Mehta said. It has enriched Amazon investigator training in issues pertaining to IP infringement and complaint procedures, driving more timely complaint resolutions. The guidelines have also increased the rate of valid infringement notices, helping to quash illicit operations.

“Sharing bad actor information allows Amazon and IACC members to more effectively partner with law enforcement so they can hold counterfeiters responsible for their actions,” Mehta said. “We welcome the support of any brand, association, or enforcement agency to join us in combating counterfeits.”