The global fight against counterfeit goods has seen an unimaginable pairing up of businesses, namely Cartier, the French haute jeweller, and online behemoth Amazon.
The companies announced two joint lawsuits against a social media influencer and eight other entities for advertising, promoting, and facilitating the sale of counterfeit luxury goods through Instagram and other websites. The suit also cites infringement of Cartier’s registered trademarks and violating Amazon’s policies.
The lawsuits were filed in a Washington court and further alleges the defendants colluded with each other to sell the fake products and engage in false advertising.
“By using social media to promote counterfeit products, bad actors undermine trust and mislead customers,” said Kebharu Smith, associate general counsel and director of the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU). “Amazon will keep investing and innovating to stay ahead of counterfeiters, and working with brands and law enforcement to hold bad actors accountable. We don’t just want to chase them away from Amazon—we want to stop them for good.”
In a statement Amazon said the defendants openly posted photos of counterfeit Cartier jewelry, such as its iconic Love bracelet, with a description of the infringing product on Instagram, but on Amazon and other websites, they created product detail pages for generic products with no indication of infringement. The defendants then provided customers on Instagram a link to the generic product on Amazon or other websites, and they told customers if they purchased the generic item, they would receive a counterfeit Cartier product.
Investing in the fight against counterfeiting
Amazon said it invested more than 900 million dollars and employed more than 12,000 people dedicated to protecting customers, brands, selling partners, and the store from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse in 2021. This is up from 700 million dollars the previous year.
In 2020 Amazon said fewer than .01 percent of products sold on its website received a counterfeit complaint from a customer.