Good practices to fight against the online sale of counterfeit products – Intellectual property

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Counterfeit sales must be effectively prevented at every stage of merchandise marketing

During the pandemic, consumers became more eager to shop in online stores. This has contributed to the development of sales platforms, but also aggravated the existing risks. One of those risks is buying a counterfeit. And it’s not just so-called luxury products that are increasingly counterfeit, so are drugs and medical tests. Products produced under conditions that the original manufacturer could not control, and which often do not meet applicable quality and safety standards, can pose a threat to consumers who unknowingly purchase such counterfeits.

By counterfeit, we mean products bearing a trademark without the knowledge of the owner of the trademark. These also include goods that infringe other intellectual property rights, such as copyrights or rights in industrial designs, utility models and patents.

Registering a trademark is one of the most effective measures to prevent consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods to be taken by an entrepreneur. A trademark protection right, obtained on presentation of a relevant application, facilitates effective cooperation with customs offices to detain counterfeits at the border and have them destroyed.

The trade in counterfeits should not be combated only through legal instruments. Civil and criminal proceedings linked to the placing on the market of counterfeits constitute the last stage in such a fight. We must also seek to detect attempts to market counterfeit products, which has been observed by sales platforms, including Amazon. The Brand Protection Report, released by Amazon in May 2021, identifies steps the company has taken to ensure that buyers only have access to original products.

The report says Amazon has based its anti-counterfeiting efforts on three strategies.

The first involves proactive checks to detect attempts to create sales accounts that could be used to trade fakes. These measures are based not only on the knowledge of experienced experts, but also on artificial intelligence solutions. In 2020, through the use of algorithms, Amazon prevented over 6 million attempts to create seller accounts and released over 10 million products for sale. Over 2 million counterfeits shipped to Amazon fulfillment centers were seized and destroyed before being shipped to customers.

The second strategy is based on cooperation with brands via a Brand Registry or Project Zero, available to sellers in Poland since May 2021. As part of the Brand Registry, Amazon offers a range of tools to all brands joining the programs, including a form to register a trademark in the trademark registry, a Report Infringement (RAV) tool, a record of reported intellectual property violations, automatic blocking of suspicious lists before publication, a self-service Project Zero tool to remove counterfeits, as well as Customer Support for the Trademark Registry. According to data published in the report, for every ad removed by the brand through the self-service ad removal tool, the machine-learning-based system prevented an additional 600 suspicious ads from appearing.

The latest strategy is Amazon’s cooperation with law enforcement authorities to hold accountable those involved in the marketing of counterfeits. In 2020, Amazon created a counterfeiting crime unit. This is a global team that conducts independent or joint investigations with trademarks to gather evidence and notify law enforcement authorities or pursue civil suits against entities or individuals selling counterfeits. As part of the measures taken, the Unit established cooperation with law enforcement authorities and developed a public and private partnership plan to put an end to counterfeiting. The plan stresses the need to strengthen cooperation between sales platforms and law enforcement agencies in order to improve the exchange of information on those responsible for the marketing of counterfeits.

The data presented in the report and collected by Amazon confirms that the number of counterfeits on the market is increasing rather than decreasing, as well as the risks to consumers. The starting point for remedying this situation is the use of legal solutions, conscious brand building and trademark protection. However, to effectively combat the counterfeit trade it is crucial to do so at different levels, at every stage of the marketing of goods and with all interested parties fully involved. The measures described in the report appear to be useful to right holders faced with the problem of goods infringing their intellectual property rights.

By introducing proactive algorithm-based measures, Amazon appears to be ahead of other online shopping platforms, as a dominant market standard for IP rights holders is always to report ads through an email address. dedicated or a simple notification system.

We encourage you to read the full report at: and information on the public and private partnership plan at: plan-partnerestwa-publiczno-prywatnego-w-celu-powstrzymowania-podrobek

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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