The Law Behind Amazon Suspending Alleged Counterfeiters

Amazon Sellers Lawyer is a legal team that is dedicated to defending sellers’ rights by applying legal strategies to protect their accounts and handle account suspensions, complaints and policy violations. Founder, CJ Rosenbaum started his practice in 1994 where he represented entrepreneurs who operate both online & brick & mortar businesses. CJ is also a courtroom lawyer and litigator. CJ has represented various people across the United States, has taken countless depositions and tries more cases each year than most lawyers do during their entre careers.

Amazon Sellers Lawyer has the legal background needed to tackle Intellectual Property complaints that arise on the Amazon platform. Many times, these complaints are baseless or simply misguided. This legal team has the experience needed to resolve these issues and have a seller’s account reinstated. Amazon suspends sellers’ accounts everyday, and those sellers often feel helpless. This firm takes pride in being able to help get these accounts reinstated and work with these individuals to implement new business practices that will prevent future issues.

Prior to getting into why Amazon suspends sellers accused of selling counterfeit goods, we should define what the word “counterfeit” means.

Counterfeit goods are fakes, knock-offs and copies. Counterfeit goods are when you take a Tory Burch bag, bring it to a different factory and ask them to make one just like it. Counterfeit goods are when you make an NFL or MLB jersey, but it isn’t made out of the same materials, or it doesn’t have the right colors. Counterfeits occur in electronics, health and beauty and all products. In India, they make tapestries with specials dyes and fabrics, and when duplicates are made in a different country, they lack the vibrant colors of the Indian textiles. These are counterfeit goods.

The leading legal dictionary, Black’s Law Dictionary, defines counterfeit as “to unlawfully forge, copy, or imitate an item, esp. money or a negotiable instrument (such as a security or promissory note) or other officially issued item of value (such as a postage stamp or a food stamp), or to possess such an item without authorization and with the intent to deceive or defraud by presenting the item as genuine. Counterfeiting includes producing or selling an item that displays a reproduction of a genuine trademark to deceive buyers into thinking they are purchasing genuine merchandise.” See 18 U.S.C. §§ 470 et seq.

Amazon’s policy is clear: they remove sellers who sell counterfeit products under the guise of protecting customers. But are there other reasons why Amazon suspends sellers when they think there might be a counterfeiting issue?

The answer is yes. Amazon doesn’t just want to protect consumers; they also want to protect themselves when they suspend alleged counterfeiters.

In a case called Tre Milano,1 Amazon was made aware that one of its users had violated not just their Terms of Service (the contract every seller has with Amazon), but the Amazon seller also possibly violated the law. The seller was accused of selling counterfeit goods. In this case, Amazon was sued along with the counterfeiter.

Instead of taking any responsibility for the counterfeiting, the court let Amazon out of the case. The court dismissed all claims against Amazon. Amazon avoided all liability and responsibility for the counterfeit goods, simply because they took action upon being told that there was a counterfeit issue.

That’s all platforms like Amazon have to do to avoid responsibility: stop the selling.

  1. TRE Milano, LLC v., Inc., No. S205747, 2012 Cal. LEXIS 11039 (Nov. 28, 2012).
    Plaintiff’s case against Amazon was dismissed because Amazon was not responsible for the infringement of a third-party, and could also not be held contributorily liable since Amazon took immediate action once it was notified of the third-party’s infringement.

For more information about the law and lawsuits that shape how Amazon conducts its business, check out The Amazon Law Library.

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