As most everyone knows Amazon is an online place to sell everything from cosmetics to furniture to handbags. Because of its sheer size, the company has had trouble preventing foreign companies from creating counterfeit products that duplicate someone else’s hard-earned brands.
Counterfeit products are especially problematic because the general public believes they are made by the brand holder. Rarely do counterfeiters create products as good as the product they imitate. Generally, counterfeiters cut corners in order to price at rock bottom, so buyers believe they are getting a sale price. This is a nightmare for the real brand because both the quality and price that the brand represents has been undercut.
Seattle-based Amazon earlier this year released the Amazon Project Zero tool, which allows brands to track down – and remove – counterfeit listings on their own.
After brands attach a unique code to their products, Project Zero can also remove suspected counterfeits through Amazon’s artificial intelligence and machine learning, which can scan 5 billion listings a day to detect suspected counterfeits that don’t carry the codes.
Can Entrepreneurs Protect Against Counterfeits?
Counterfeits are generally sold through third-party vendors, although they may still be fulfilled by Amazon, which can make them tricky to detect.
Various states’ Uniform Trade Secrets Act protects confidential information from being stolen by competitors, including designs, product formulas and customer lists. It allows for the recovery of damages, and is one law that could be responsible for the suits Amazon is facing for its counterfeit product problem.
While the Project Zero tool does protect against counterfeits, that is a very specific category, according to Pat Petriello, who heads marketplace strategy at the San Diego-based CPC Strategy, and it does not cover copyright infringement or other key parts of many states’ trade secret laws. That means that Amazon has a long way to go in its battle to prevent foreign companies from stealing protected American-made product information, which includes elements that go far beyond design to address anything that falls under the category of confidential information and gives your product value.
Still, the tool does give companies more autonomous control over the products they sell on Amazon, and that is an important step in making Amazon safer and more secure for brands.
Because selling products on Amazon can be a daunting experience – especially if there are counterfeit products infringing on your sales – consulting with an experienced attorney can help you determine the best actions to take to protect you and your business trade secrets. Please contact us today at 888-EMERGE-0 to find out how we can help you improve your Amazon selling experience and your results.