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Amazon’s First Counterfeit Crimes Unit

In case you missed yesterday’s announcement that Amazon has created their first Counterfeit Crimes Unit, I just wanted to bring it to your attention.

This is an important step for Amazon and for rights holders.

Here’s a quote from today’s press release:

Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit will investigate cases where a bad actor has attempted to evade Amazon’s systems and listed a counterfeit in violation of Amazon’s policies.

The Counterfeit Crimes Unit will mine Amazon’s data, cull information from external resources such as payment service providers and open source intelligence, and leverage on-the-ground assets to connect the dots between targets.

The Counterfeit Crimes Unit enables Amazon to more effectively pursue civil litigation against bad actors, work with brands in joint or independent investigations, and aid law enforcement officials worldwide in criminal actions against counterfeiters.

This is welcome news. Traditionally, brands have had to essentially depend on themselves to initiate action against counterfeiters by relying on private IP investigators, and/or brand monitoring services to gather information to take down a bad actor site, or prepare a comprehensive enough case to present to law enforcement.

It is encouraging to see that the new Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit will be composed of former prosecutors, law enforcement investigators, and analysts that have the experience to effectively collaborate with the brand’s private IP investigators and attorneys to achieve meaningful joint and independent results.

The past model of working with Amazon to combat fakes was somewhat like trying to fly a kite (a.k.a. Amazon) without a string.

With today’s announcement, Amazon has taken an important step in establishing a true partnership with brand owners in the fight against counterfeiting. And we–in the IP investigations and protection business–welcome the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit aboard.

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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

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