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Amazon to intensify crackdown on counterfeits

22 March 2017 is expanding a programme that would remove counterfeit goods from its website this spring in a broader push to assure brand owners that the online retailer was an ally and not a threat.

Starting as soon as next month, any brand could register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the e-commerce company could take down listings and potential seller accounts when counterfeits were flagged, Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said in an interview on Monday.

The brand registry, as it was called, had been under testing, would be available for free in North America, Faricy said ahead of his presentation yesterday at the Shoptalk commerce conference in Las Vegas.

According to commentators, the move reflected Amazon's efforts to play up to increasingly important third-party sellers. The Seattle-based company earned a commission for retail transactions it enabled, and it also sold lucrative fulfillment and advertising services to third parties.

Counterfeiters had also sold faulty or discounted versions of authentic goods on Amazon leading to lawsuits, including one from Apple, against merchants on the site.

According to retailers, Amazon controlled too much of the sales process and created its own private-label copies of top-selling items to sell to customers at a lower price.

The effort to protect intellectual property was the e-retailer's latest measure as it stepped up fight against counterfeiting. The company had also required third-party merchants to pay listing fees for top brands and prove their inventory came from the manufacturer or an authorised distributor.

Amazon had also filed lawsuits against alleged counterfeit sellers.

Amazon was also developing a suite of digital tools, called Brand Central, to help sellers protect their brands from fakes.

Faricy told Reuters it had more to do in its effort to safeguard against counterfeits.

"I don't think it's the kind of thing where you ever feel like there's a clear ending," Faricy said. "It's a journey."

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