Amazon has established a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit, which it said will be dedicated to bringing counterfeiters that violate the law and Amazon’s policies by listing counterfeit products in its store to justice.
The new division is a global, multi-disciplinary team composed of former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts, and will join Amazon’s extensive work to drive counterfeit to zero.
Amazon’s first objective is to prevent a counterfeit from ever being listed in its store, and its comprehensive proactive anti-counterfeit programs have ensured that 99.9% of all Amazon products viewed by customers did not have a valid counterfeit complaint, according to the company. In 2019, Amazon invested over $500 million and had more than 8,000 employees fighting fraud, including counterfeits. Amazon noted that its efforts have blocked over 6 billion suspected bad listings in 2019 and blocked over 2.5 million suspected bad actor accounts before they were able to make a single product available for sale.
The Counterfeit Crimes Unit will investigate cases where a bad actor has attempted to evade Amazon’s systems and listed a counterfeit in violation of the company’s policies. The Counterfeit Crimes Unit will mine Amazon’s data, cull information from external resources such as payment service providers and open source intelligence, and leverage on-the-ground assets to connect the dots between targets. The unit enables Amazon to more effectively pursue civil litigation against bad actors, work with brands in joint or independent investigations, and aid law enforcement officials worldwide in criminal actions against counterfeiters.
“Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vp/customer trust and partner support, Amazon. “We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and we applaud the law enforcement authorities who are already part of this fight. We urge governments to give these authorities the investigative tools, funding, and resources they need to bring criminal counterfeiters to justice because criminal enforcement— through prosecution and other disruption measures such as freezing assets— is one of the most effective ways to stop them.”
The new unit is said to build on Amazon’s collaboration with brands and law enforcement to hold counterfeiters accountable through financial penalties, civil litigation and criminal prosecution. Amazon engages with authorities like the National Intellectual Property Rights Center, Europol, and relevant enforcement authorities in China and around the world.
In May, Amazon said it identified counterfeiters based in Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States and referred each to relevant national authorities.