Amazon is cracking down on counterfeits.
The Seattle e-commerce giant has filed three lawsuits in partnership with Vera Bradley, designer of purses and other accessories, and OtterBox, which makes high-end phone cases.
Vera Bradley contacted Amazon when the designer received notices from U.S. border agents who allegedly intercepted fake products imported from China, according to the lawsuits. Amazon seized a bag from one of its fulfillment centers and handed it over to Vera Bradley. The handbag maker says it determined the bag was a fake. That purse was distributed by one of several alleged sellers of imitation Vera Bradley products named in the lawsuits.
Vera Bradley is seeking damages and an injunction on the sellers’ activities — including impounding all infringing products. Amazon is suing the sellers for breaching their contract with the company by selling counterfeit goods.
“In Amazon’s experience, however, it is not uncommon for sellers of counterfeit products blocked by Amazon to attempt to create new seller identities to obtain access to the Amazon marketplace,” one lawsuit says. “Therefore, unless Defendants and all of their affiliated and/or successor entities are immediately and permanently enjoined from using Amazon’s website to sell goods, the harm caused by Defendants to Amazon, legitimate third-party manufacturers/sellers like Vera Bradley, and consumers is likely to continue.”
All three of the Vera Bradley cases and the Otterbox suit were filed in U.S. District Court. Otterbox and Amazon claim a seller by the name of Ngullen Alejandra Rivera distributed counterfeit OtterBox cases, based on a test purchase on Amazon.com.
Counterfeiters are a pain point for Amazon, which facilitates transactions for millions of sellers. Retailers, like Birkenstock and Portland-based Elevation Lab, have criticized Amazon for profiting off of counterfeit goods.
Amazon has teams dedicated to rooting out bad actors and is developing machine learning technology to detect fraud.
“We take this fight against bad actors very seriously and will not rest,” Amazon said in a statement.