Trump Administration Cracks Down on Counterfeits Sold on Amazon and Other Online Retailers
This week, President Trump brought the hammer down on Amazon. Trump has been known for his discontent over Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos’s monopoly. Finally, as an outcome of President Trump’s China “Phase One” Trade Deals, regulations and laws were put into place that allow both the government and private businesses to go after online retailers for counterfeit merchandise.
The big catch? President Trump states that Amazon and other marketplaces that have networks of third-party sellers do not get a pass. These sites are now responsible for the counterfeit goods sold by third-party marketplace sellers. Law enforcement individuals are going to immediately investigate cases of reported counterfeit merchandise, including those funneled through fulfillment centers like Amazon’s. This is game-changing for sites like Amazon, which have skirted liability because of laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
What does this mean for the licensing community? I think a few things are going to happen.
- Licensors can now seek damages more easily from identified counterfeiters. If you find a counterfeit seller, there will be an avenue to sue Amazon.
- Licensees may accidentally get listings removed as marketplaces like Amazon make sweeping takedowns to protect themselves against getting fined/sued. This is going to be an ongoing battle of justifying that you are indeed legit.
- Amazon will have an example made out of them at some point.
- It will be harder to just create a third-party selling account on Amazon. So if you don’t have one now, I recommend getting one ASAP.
- New tools are going to come out for licensed brands specifically to monitor and control counterfeits.
This is just the start of an unregulated, free internet, locking down the black market. In the long term, it will be better for us legitimate licensees, without question.
Trevor George is the CEO of Trevco, and of the digital marketing agency Blue Wheel, one of Inc Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies! In these roles, Trevor became one of the largest third-party sellers on Amazon in the United States. Trevor is known for advancing brands in e-retail and marketplaces. He’s often featured in Business Insider, Internet Retailer, Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more, and is one of the trailblazers in today’s changing e-retail landscape