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Amazon establishes Counterfeit Crimes Unit

June 25, 2020

This new, global team is dedicated to investigating, finding, and launching legal action and criminal referrals against counterfeiters, Amazon said.

Amazon announced it has established a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit, dedicated to bringing counterfeiters that violate the law and Amazon’s policies by listing counterfeit products in its store to justice. Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit 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 said its first objective is to prevent a counterfeit from ever being listed in its store, and its comprehensive proactive anti-counterfeit programmes have ensured that 99.9% of all Amazon products viewed by customers did not have a valid counterfeit complaint. In 2019, Amazon invested over $500 million (€445 million) and had more than 8,000 employees fighting fraud, including counterfeit. Amazon’s 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.

Amazon explained that its Counterfeit Crimes Unit will investigate cases where a bad actor has attempted to evade Amazon’s systems and listed a counterfeit in violation of Amazon’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.

According to Amazon, the Counterfeit Crimes Unit enables it 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, Vice President, 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 builds on Amazon’s history of collaboration with brands and law enforcement to hold counterfeiters accountable through financial penalties, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution. Amazon actively engages with authorities like the National Intellectual Property Rights Centre (US), Europol (EU), and relevant enforcement authorities in China and around the world. In May, Amazon 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.

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