Law enforcement seized more than 240,000 counterfeit luxury, sports, and automotive items in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Jiangxi – including items from Puma and Under Armour – thanks to a tip from Amazon.
According to the e-comm giant, its Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) provided information and intelligence to local Public Security Bureaus (PSB) in China, including the locations of warehouses and manufacturing facilities, which led to the successful identification and disruption of three major counterfeit operations and their upstream suppliers. The main suspects have been detained by local PSBs for further investigation. Amazon added that any infringing listings connected to these cases have been eliminated.
Upon searching the facilities, law enforcement seized more than 130,000 counterfeit car accessories and fake brand labels that infringed on many brands’ intellectual property including BMW, Porsche, and General Motors; nearly 80,000 counterfeit luxury products; and more than 30,000 pieces of counterfeit clothing and fake brand labels that infringed on Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Puma and Under Armour’s intellectual property among others.
“Our efforts to identify and dismantle counterfeit organizations are working,” said Kebharu Smith, associate general counsel and director of the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit. “We appreciate law enforcement acting on our referrals and thoroughly pursuing these cases. These outcomes protect Amazon customers, disrupt the counterfeit supply chain, and halt their illicit proceeds.”
This latest effort adds to the more than 3 million counterfeit products Amazon identified, seized, and appropriately disposed of last year, which included counterfeits sent to Amazon’s fulfillment centers in an unsuccessful attempt to sell to Amazon customers.
Amazon works across the globe to fight counterfeiters, recently filing joint lawsuits with well-known brands, including Cartier, GE Appliances, WWE, Salvatore Ferragamo, and FELCO. In 2021, the CCU sued or referred for investigation over 600 criminals in the U.S., UK, EU, and China.
“The production and sale of counterfeit goods poses serious harm to the intellectual property rights of the brands involved, as well as to the legitimate interests of honest sellers—and the customers who place their trust in our stores,” added Dharmesh Mehta, VP of Amazon’s worldwide selling partner services. “While we are proud of the progress we have made, we will not stop until we drive counterfeits to zero, and we will continue to invest and innovate until we get there.”
Amazon said it also cooperated with local PSBs in China on operations involving bad actors that illegally purchased government-issued personal identities and business licenses in an attempt to register fraudulent Amazon seller accounts. As a result, 84 individuals were detained. Last year, Amazon stopped more than 2.5 million attempts by bad actors around the world to create new selling accounts, preventing them from listing a single product for sale.
In October, Amazon expanded its efforts to shut down fake review brokers with a new round of legal actions. As a result, the internet giant filed its first criminal complaint in Europe, which targets a high-profile broker in Italy selling fake reviews. And in Spain, the retailer also filed its first civil complaint in the country against alleged fake review broker Agencia Reviews.
In addition to these new lawsuits in Europe, Amazon said that it has added to its growing cases in the U.S. by filing 10 more lawsuits against fake review brokers and other bad actors attempting to game Amazon’s ratings systems.