Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) filed lawsuits against counterfeit sellers after several businesses on Amazon were concerned that knockoffs were hindering their sales and endangering consumers. Amazon filed suit against a group of sellers for infringing on athletic equipment developed by TRX on Monday. Amazon also sued sellers who were offering knockoff versions of a patented moving product called Forearm Forklift.
The Forearm Forklift was featured on CNBC last month, Mark Lopreiato, founder of the company that makes straps for lifting and moving heavy equipment said he sent out over 100 letters to sellers to cease and desist, as well as takedown notices to Amazon, although the fakes are still on the market.
“When customers purchase counterfeit goods, it undermines the trust that customers, sellers, and manufacturers place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand and causing irreparable reputational harm,” the Seattle based company said in the suits.
Although Amazon cannot fix the problem, they can pursue these knockoff sellers to set an example for any others that may be selling counterfeit products. Both lawsuits were filed in the State of Washington in King County. Although Amazon pursued the sellers in the Forearm Forklift case, the “defendants tried to further their fraudulent scheme by submitting forged invoices to Amazon purporting to show that their products were authentic.”
Lopreiato claims that the lawsuit is a public relations stunt because he receives nothing in compensation as he is not a plaintiff. Lopreiato’s company revenue plunged from weak sales due to the cheaper knockoffs selling. “Where do I benefit in this at all?” Lopreiato asked. “There are dozens and dozens still listed on Amazon that can easily beat my price because they never paid for the patent, nor the pictures I took with my camera to market the Forearm Forklift, nor did they have to pay for product liability or workers’ comp insurance policies.”
Amazon stated that it invests millions of dollars in developing and deploying technology to weed out counterfeiters. When sellers register on the marketplace, “Amazon’s automated systems scan information about the sellers for signals that the sellers might be bad actors, and Amazon blocks those sellers during registration before they can offer any products for sale.