Amazon.com Inc. and Salvatore Ferragamo SpA are jointly suing four individuals and three entities over allegedly counterfeit products.
Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, the lawsuit claimed that the defendants used Ferragamo’s registered trademarks without authorization and offered the allegedly infringing items on Amazon’s website, which the e-commerce giant said violated its policies as well as Ferragamo’s intellectual property rights.
The lawsuit alleged that the people and firms — which are mostly based in China — intended to deceive customers about the authenticity and origin of the items, which were said to be belts.
“We do not allow counterfeit products in our store, and we have made it crystal clear that we take aggressive action to hold accountable bad actors who attempt to evade our proactive protections,” Amazon VP of customer trust and partner support Dharmesh Mehta said in a statement.
Ferragamo CEO Micaela le Divelec Lemmi added, “The actions we implemented with great determination in recent years in the fight against counterfeiting have allowed us to achieve good results in protecting the brand … The joint action with Amazon underlines how the protection of intellectual property is a priority for Ferragamo and how the company is pursuing the fight against counterfeiting with full awareness and resolution.”
Over the years, Ferragamo has enacted a series of offline and online anti-counterfeiting measures, which it said enabled the company to intercept, block and remove three million illicit profiles from social media platforms and roughly 94,000 counterfeit items from online auction sites. It has also filed actions against hundreds of illegal websites through civil proceedings in New York federal court, as well as seen 240,000 products bearing its counterfeit trademarks seized around the world with the help of law enforcement.
Amazon said it has also been cracking down on fake products — much of which it said hails from China — on its website. It shared that it invested more than $500 million into protecting its stores from fraud and abuse in 2019 alone and that 99.9% of products viewed by consumers on its site have not received a valid counterfeit complaint. (It also said that it reports all confirmed counterfeit goods to authorities.)
However, the retail platform continues to receives criticism from retail trade groups, including recently the American Apparel and Footwear Association, as well as by fashion brands for its purportedly lax policing of third-party listings that can result in fraudulent listings. Citing a variety of reasons, including knockoffs and lack of brand control, several major shoe players — Birkenstock is one example — have cut ties with Amazon in recent years.
It’s not the first time Amazon has joined forces with a luxury fashion house to hold alleged counterfeiters accountable. In June, it teamed up with Valentino in a joint lawsuit filed against Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaitlyn Pan Group LLC, whom they claimed copied the brand’s popular Rockstud pump and offered the style for sale both on Amazon.com and on its own KaitlynPanShoes.com website.