Amazon today filed two lawsuits against online sellers alleged to have illegally offered counterfeit goods through its vast e-commerce platform.
The suits, filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, are believed to be the first time Amazon has sued third-party sellers over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods on its site.
In the past, Amazon itself has been sued by sellers who alleged that the company was partially responsible for enabling the sale of counterfeit goods infringing on their intellectual property.
Amazon’s suits target sales of knockoff fitness products and heavy lifting equipment sold illegally under the TRX and Forearm Forklift brands, which are both legitimate sellers on the Amazon platform.
Fitness Anywhere, the company behind the TRX fitness product line, joined Amazon in the suit over the alleged sale of counterfeit versions of its products. TRX was founded by former Navy SEAL commando Randy Hetrick, according to the complaint.
Defendants in both complaints include several companies and individuals in California, Florida, and New York.
The suits are the latest effort by Amazon to crack down on misuse of its e-commerce platform by rogue sellers. The company has separately filed a series of suits against people and companies alleged to have facilitated and participated in the posting of fake product reviews on the site.
Amazon declined to comment on the suits over the counterfeit products, but the complaints provide a detailed description of the company’s position and tactics.
Amazon has zero tolerance for counterfeits, and has invested heavily in protecting the integrity of the Amazon marketplace for consumers, sellers, and manufacturers. Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policy clearly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products …
Amazon invests tens of millions of dollars annually developing sophisticated technology to detect bad actors and potentially counterfeit products, and it employs dedicated teams of software engineers, research scientists, program managers, and investigators to operate and continually refine its anti-counterfeiting program. Among other things, when sellers register to sell products through Amazon’s Marketplace, Amazon’s automated systems scan information about the sellers for signals that the sellers might be bad actors, and Amazon blocks those sellers during registration before they can offer any products for sale. On an ongoing basis, Amazon’s systems also automatically and continuously scan thousands of variables related to sellers, products, and offers to detect activity that indicates products offered by a seller might be counterfeit. Amazon uses innovative machine learning to improve its automated systems in order to anticipate and stay ahead of bad actors. Numerous Amazon investigators around the world respond quickly to review any listing identified as a potential counterfeit product. These investigators also review notices of claimed infringement from rights owners, who know their products best. When Amazon finds counterfeit products from whatever source, it removes those products immediately. Amazon regularly suspends or blocks sellers suspected of engaging in illegal behavior or infringing others’ intellectual property rights.
Here are the lawsuits as filed by the company.