Cracking Down on Counterfeits: Policies and measures implemented by online marketplaces to support brand owners

Many online marketplaces prioritize the authenticity of the products sold on their platforms and offer ways for brand owners to protect their trademarks. This is important for maintaining consumer trust and confidence in the marketplace and for preventing counterfeit goods from entering the market. In this article we will outline some of the policies and measures the biggest online marketplace put in place in order to support brand owners in the fight against counterfeit.

By

Jan Buza

Trademark monitoring

Trademark monitoring of online marketplaces is the process of tracking and monitoring online marketplaces to identify and prevent the sale of counterfeit or infringing products that bear a company's trademarks. This involves regularly searching marketplaces for listings that may infringe on a company's trademarks, such as listings that use a company's logo, name, or other identifying features without authorization. 

Trademark monitoring is important because it helps companies protect their intellectual property and brand reputation. By identifying and stopping the sale of counterfeit or infringing products, companies can prevent confusion among consumers, protect their market share, and avoid damage to their reputation.

Many online marketplaces have implemented various measures to ensure the authenticity of products sold on their platform, such as conducting verification checks on sellers and their products, requiring sellers to provide proof of authenticity, and implementing policies that prohibit the sale of counterfeit goods. Additionally, many marketplaces offer programs and tools for brand owners to protect their trademarks, such as registering their brand with the marketplace, reporting infringing products, and requesting the removal of counterfeit goods.

Amazon

Policy

Amazon has a strict policy on trademarks and counterfeit products, and takes several measures to protect the intellectual property rights of brand owners and prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on its platform. Amazon's policy on trademarks requires that sellers obtain authorization from the trademark owner before listing products that bear that trademark. If a seller is found to be selling products that infringe on a trademark, Amazon may remove the listing, suspend the seller's account, and/or work with law enforcement to take legal action against the seller. In addition to its trademark policy, Amazon also has several measures in place to prevent the sale of counterfeit products on its platform.

Brand Protection Programmes:

Amazon Brand Registry: Eligible sellers can sign up to Amazon Brand Registry by providing details of their active, registered trademark(s) along with other product information such as where the products are shipped from. This information is used by Amazon to automatically remove suspected infringing content. For example, if a product which uses a company’s trademark is shipped from a country which has not been listed by the company, the product listing is automatically removed.

Amazon Project Zero(Additional to Brand Registry): uses the power of Amazon technology combined with brand insights to detect and remove counterfeits on an advanced level.

Transparency program: Amazon’s Transparency program is intended to give assurance to both sellers and customers that authentic products are being sold. Sellers can enrol with the program and apply Transparency bar codes to all their products. Amazon scans the Transparency codes before shipping products supposedly from that seller to ensure only authentic products are shipped. Customers are also able to authenticate the product they have received using the Transparency app.

Counterfeit Crimes Unit: Most recently, Amazon has launched its Counterfeit Crimes Unit to pursue civil litigation against suspected counterfeiters, working with brands and law enforcement officials to hold counterfeiters accountable.

eBay

Policy

Product authenticity is important to eBay's trademark policy. eBay prohibits the sale of counterfeit goods, which are products that are made or sold under a brand name without the brand owner's authorization. eBay's policy on trademark infringement prohibits the sale of items that infringe on a trademark owner's rights, including counterfeit items, as well as items that bear the trademark owner's logo or brand name without authorization. To help ensure product authenticity, eBay has implemented various measures, such as partnering with brands to identify and remove counterfeit listings, and requiring sellers to provide proof of authenticity.

Brand Protection Programmes:

Verified Rights Owner Program: eBay’s Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program provides a simple method for sellers to report potential infringement of their IP rights. Brand owners must sign up to the VeRO program to report infringement of any kind on eBay. To sign up to the program, a Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI) form is completed providing eBay with details of the IP rights owned by the brand owner, eBay will then assist the company in becoming a member of the program.

Alibaba

Policy

Alibaba requires sellers to comply with its Intellectual Property Rights Protection Policy, which prohibits the sale of counterfeit products, and it provides resources for buyers to help them identify and avoid counterfeit items. Alibaba also has a reporting system in place to allow rights holders to report suspected counterfeit items, and it takes swift action to remove such items from its platforms.

Brand Protection Programmes:

Intellectual Property Protection Program: Alibaba offers a similar program to eBay where rights holders can sign up to their Intellectual Property Protection Program (IPPP) by providing proof of their IP rights (as a copy of the registration or grant certificate for registered rights or by completing Alibaba’s Copyright Claims Statement for unregistered copyright works). Rights holders can then alert Alibaba to infringing acts on any Alibaba owned website and Alibaba will take down the listing and notify the owner. If issued, counter-notifications will be forwarded to the rights holder for response.

Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance: Alibaba additionally set up the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) which offers a similar service to Amazon’s Brand Registry. However, AACA members are more directly involved in the anti-counterfeiting process, with greater requirements on time, experience and financial commitment than Amazon Brand Registry. Therefore, whilst useful, this service appears tailored to larger companies and is therefore less accessible to small and medium businesses who may suffer the most from counterfeiting. The IACC MarketSafe® program is a fee-based service that is provided to all businesses that own a trademark. However, the Alibaba Group has provided funding that makes the program free for SMEs.

Wish

Policy

To protect the intellectual property rights of brand owners and prevent the sale of counterfeit products, Wish.com has implemented policies and procedures to ensure that sellers comply with its rules. Wish's Intellectual Property Policy prohibits the sale of counterfeit products and requires sellers to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the sale of branded products.

Brand Protection Programmes:

Brand Partner Program was developed to assist brand owners with protecting their intellectual property on the e-commerce site. Businesses must provide their trademark registration information in order to participate in this program. There is an application process that businesses must complete before participating in this program, which assists in the swift removal of infringing goods, and data regarding historical takedowns. Outside of this program, merchants and other parties can submit a report of intellectual property violations (trademark, copyright or patent) via the Wish.com site.

Jan Buza
Jan Buza

Product Mind

Helped scale portfolio firms for a VC fund

CEMS Prague

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