Amazon discusses our approach to anti-counterfeiting and protecting IP at UNIFAB’s European Intellectual Property Forum (FEPI)

UNIFAB 2024 group of speakers on a stage

When a customer makes a purchase in Amazon’s store, they trust they will receive an authentic product, whether the item is sold by Amazon Retail or by one of millions of independent sellers. And when businesses choose to sell in our store, they trust we will provide a great selling experience, free from competition with bad actors.

In March 2024, Amazon joined over 350 industry leaders at the European Intellectual Property Forum (FEPI) in France, hosted by Union des Fabricants (UNIFAB), to discuss our approach to anti-counterfeiting and protecting intellectual property (IP). Anna Dalla Val, Director of Brand Protection Strategic Partnerships at Amazon, gave a speech highlighting how Amazon helps keep customers, brands, selling partners, and our store safe from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse.

“Keeping consumers safe from counterfeit is a global challenge that requires an innovative, multi-faceted approach,” said Dalla Val. “From proactive controls that help keep bad actors and potentially infringing products out of our store to global, cross-sector partnerships, to seller and consumer education initiatives, we are committed to driving counterfeits to zero.”

Throughout her speech, Dalla Val spoke to key areas of focus for Amazon in the global anti-counterfeiting and IP protection space, with particular examples of how this applies in the EU: leveraging artificial intelligence to scale protections, collaborating across industry to bring counterfeits to zero, and educating and protecting sellers and consumers.

Leveraging artificial intelligence to automate protections

At Amazon, we continue to innovate and improve our automated brand protections, which leverage advanced machine learning models that use thousands of signals, including data provided by brands enrolled in Brand Registry. We implement large language models to systematically detect many different types of infringement, including complex visual IP infringements. Since 2020, while the number of products available for sale in our store has grown significantly, during this same period we have seen a more than 30% decrease in the total valid notices of infringement submitted by brands. In 2023, our proactive controls blocked more than 99% of suspected infringing listings before a brand ever had to find and report them.

This has been a journey over many years, and we have continued to find great success in stopping counterfeits.

“This technology operates continuously throughout every step of selling in our store, from when a prospective seller begins their registration process, to listing or updating a product, changing key account information, receiving a funds disbursement, and more,” said Dalla Val. “In most cases, bad actors are stopped from even creating an account or listing a single product for sale.”

Collaborating across industry to bring counterfeits to zero

In 2021, we released a blueprint for private and public sector partnership to stop counterfeiters. Since publishing the blueprint, the importance of private and public sector collaborations has grown along with interest in these partnerships. We are excited to see these relationships expand and are encouraged that others in the industry are adopting the practices we are championing. We continue to support collaborative anti-counterfeiting best practices in the EU, such as those laid out in the European Commission’s EU toolbox against counterfeiting and the framework of the EU Memorandum of Understanding. In 2023, Amazon also became the first retailer to join the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s (EUIPO) Intellectual Property Enforcement Portal (IPEP). The IPEP includes customs officials, police authorities, rights holders, and now retailers, who are dedicated to identifying, detecting, and stopping counterfeits from reaching consumers within the EU.

Our collaborations across industry are continuing to deliver results for global consumers. In 2021, Amazon and fashion brand Salvatore Ferragamo jointly filed two lawsuits against four individuals and three entities for counterfeiting Ferragamo’s products. The defendants attempted to offer the infringing products in Amazon’s store, violating Amazon’s policies, Ferragamo’s IP rights, and the law. In 2024, German law enforcement acted on intelligence from Amazon and two impacted brands, identifying six suspected members of a counterfeit ring attempting to deceive customers by selling fake toner cartridges that were marketed as genuine products. Also in 2024, Amazon and BMW Group announced the successful resolution of a first-of-its-kind joint lawsuit in Spain. The European Union Trademark Court ruled in favor of Amazon and BMW, against four bad actors based in Spain who attempted to sell counterfeit BMW parts and accessories across Europe.

Protecting and educating sellers and consumers

To help sellers ensure their products are offered in accordance with applicable laws and policies, Amazon has a suite of powerful tools and documentation available to support them. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can use these tools and policies as a guide to get started in our store and list their first products after they undergo our seller verification process.

Amazon EU store’s Intellectual Property Policy provides clear and practical information to sellers about IP rights and common concerns that might arise when selling in Amazon’s store, including the enforcement of those rights.

“Amazon has no tolerance for bad actors that are attempting to intentionally abuse or circumvent these policies,” said Dalla Val. “We also recognize that honest, well-intending sellers share Amazon’s mission to protect consumers while respecting the IP rights of others, but some may unknowingly list a non-compliant or prohibited product because they are unaware of an applicable legal requirement or Amazon policy.”

Amazon’s Seller University helps European selling partners learn and master Amazon’s tools and grow their businesses by offering courses on hundreds of topics, including how to start selling on Amazon, how Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) works, and advertising tips for brand owners. The Amazon EU store also prompts sellers to provide relevant product safety and compliance materials, including product compliance warnings and markings on product pages and high-quality six-sided images of their products and packaging. Where available, we leverage APIs and public resources to help make compliance easy and reliable. For example, sellers can display energy efficiency labeling simply by giving us their European Product Registry for Energy Labelling ID information.

Beyond supporting our selling partners, we also recognize the importance of educating consumers about the risks of counterfeit goods, and we continue to pursue a number of avenues to drive better consumer education. In Spain, we recorded a podcast with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office to raise consumer awareness; in Poland, we worked with the Consumer Forum on the anti-counterfeit “live originally” campaign; and in the UK, we partnered with the charity Crimestoppers on a year-long social media campaign warning the public about the dangers of fake goods.

“Overall, our policies, proactive controls, advanced technology, and seller and consumer education campaigns highlight just some of the ways we are tackling the global challenges we all face,” Dalla Val concluded at FEPI. “We are inspired by the conversations happening in this space and what this means for the future of consumer safety, and I want to thank you all again for welcoming me here to provide more insight into what Amazon is doing to help keep our customers safe.”

To learn more about how Amazon approaches anti-counterfeiting and protecting IP, download the 2023 Brand Protection Report here.