Amazon said this week it is expanding a programme to remove counterfeit goods from its website, but observers says details of the initiative are still unclear.

The Seattle based e-commerce giant is reacting to lawsuits and pushback from retailers including Apple and Birkenstock.

Peter Faricy, Vice President of Amazon Marketplace, told Reuters on Monday that “as early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged”.

The so-called brand registry has been in test phase and will be widely available for free in North America, Faricy added. Shoppers, brands or Amazon itself can flag counterfeit goods via the registry, which the company developed in 2016.

Amazon’s move has been prompted by lawsuits, from Apple among others, against merchants over the sale of counterfeit goods. Apple claimed that 90% of Apple products it bought on Amazon were counterfeit.

INCOPRO, a company which uses advanced technology to help brands protect their IP online, commented that Amazon’s promised initiative “could be a significant step in the anti-counterfeiting movement, but there is an air of mystery as to how exactly this brand registry programme will operate”.

Dilpreet Kaur, a brand protection expert at INCOPRO, said: “Amazon have kept the details of this new anti-counterfeiting initiative quite vague; the previous effort was implementing the ‘report’ tool. This tool was relatively ineffective, as it suffered a range of technical issues and has limited reporting ability.

“The question now is whether this new tool does more. Does it assess counterfeits at the platform end? If not, is the tool an improvement on the current reporting function? No doubt this will be clarified, but what is encouraging is that Amazon is at least talking about taking real, impactful measures against counterfeiting. Brands should not rest on their laurels upon hearing this news; they must take action themselves to protect their IP, considering all platforms as well as social media and web infringement. If counterfeit products are being sold on mainstream marketplaces, it is inevitable that they will also have a presence on less obvious platforms, too.”

Amazon is also offering brands a program called “Transparency,” which lets them label packages with a code so shoppers can cross-check their purchase against official information.

To find out more how INCOPRO can help your brand protect itself in the ever challenging online environment, please contact Dilpreet Kaur at dilpreet.kaur@incopro.co.uk.

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