The federal National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and Amazon revealed the launch Tuesday of a joint operation to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the U.S. and help protect U.S. consumers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and DHL are also supporting the operation.
“The IPR Center plays a critical role in securing the global supply chain to protect the health and safety of the American public,” IPR Center director Steve Francis said. “However, our efforts are increased with partners like Amazon to identify, interdict and investigate individuals, companies and criminal organizations engaging in the illegal importation of counterfeit products. This joint operation is our latest public-private initiative bringing us one step closer to border security.”
Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of customer trust and partner support at Amazon, said the company conducts investigations and sidelines inventory if it suspects a product may be counterfeit.
“But we also know that counterfeiters don’t just attempt to offer their wares in one store, they attempt to offer them in multiple places,” Mehta said. “Now, by combining intelligence from Amazon, the IPR Center and other agencies, we’re able to stop counterfeits at the border, regardless of where bad actors were intending to offer them.”
The joint operation will analyze data and conduct targeted inspections aimed at preventing counterfeit products from entering the U.S. supply chain. The IPR Center and Amazon will leverage evidence obtained during the operation to expand on-going investigations, with the goal of holding bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Operation Fulfilled Action will be led by Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit that was created earlier this year to support law enforcement investigations and to initiate civil litigation against counterfeiters.
Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products, and in 2019 alone, invested more than $500 million to protect its store and customers from counterfeit and other forms of fraud and abuse. These investments include machine learning and automated systems to detect bad actors and potentially counterfeit products, dedicated teams to operate and continually refine its anti-counterfeiting programs, and tools that help Amazon work with and empower brands. As a result, 99.9 percent of pages viewed by customers on Amazon did not receive a valid counterfeit complaint and customers continue to shop with confidence on Amazon, the e-commerce giant said.
This operation builds on longstanding strategic public-private initiatives currently in place at the IPR Center. Amazon proactively provides the IPR Center with data on confirmed counterfeiters to assist with investigative efforts to stop crime.
In May, Amazon was one of six industry leaders to join the IPR Center in a public-private partnership to combat fraud and other illegal activity related to COVID-19 through Operation Stolen Promise (OSP). OSP is a joint task force focused on combating COVID-19 related fraud and criminal activity.
The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of 25 key federal and international agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft and commercial fraud crimes.