Amazon announced a joint operation with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) on Tuesday, focused on stopping counterfeit goods from entering the US. The partnership will rely on intelligence gathered from Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit, logistics company DHL, and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to proactively stop the sale of counterfeit products.
“Operation Fulfilled Action” relies on Amazon’s dominant positioning as both a distributor and marketplace for products. Because of the amount sold on Amazon’s various storefronts, IPR Center and Amazon have shared information previously, even collaborating on a crackdown on fraud related to COVID-19. This new operation marks a more long-term partnership, however.
Prior to Amazon’s involvement, IPR Center’s focus on “securing the global supply-chain” might be unfamiliar to the average person, but you’ve actually seen a bit of the Center’s work before — the government warning that plays before every DVD and Blu-ray was created by the organization.
As far as counterfeit products are concerned, Amazon says it already investigated and removed potentially fraudulent offenders. A partnership with these new agencies should allow the company to go further and “stop counterfeits at the border, regardless of where bad actors were intending to offer them” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of customer trust and partner support at Amazon.
Amazon’s more aggressive stance started in earnest with its launch of the Counterfeit Crimes Unit earlier this year, part of a move from the company to proactively investigate sellers offering counterfeit goods, rather than removing them after the fact. Counterfeit products are a known issue on Amazon’s various marketplaces and the Counterfeit Crimes Unit has already taken legal action against some sellers this month for offering counterfeit products on both Amazon Marketplace and Instagram.
Because of just how many counterfeit goods are sold every year ($1.7 trillion worth in 2009), this joint operation might not have the reach necessary to make a dent, but something is better than nothing.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the CBP as Customs and Border Patrol, the correct name is Customs and Border Protection. We regret this error.