Recently the technology-accessory company “Elevation Lab” posted an article to their blog alleging that Amazon is complicit in counterfeiting on their own e-commerce platform. The company’s founder, Casey Hopkins, described a situation that, unfortunately for us here at Amazon Sellers Lawyer, as an all-too-familiar situation. Amazon Seller Counterfeit Products
Elevation Lab manufactures and sells, among many other products, an under-desk attachment called “Anchor” on which to hang headphones; this is their own original product.
After they had begun selling on Amazon, their products were undercut by a reversed-engineered version of Elevation Lab’s very same product by a Chinese company called “Suiningdonghanjiaju Co Ltd.”
These Amazon seller counterfeit products had been on Amazon for 5 days and have undercut Elevation Lab so significantly that they have “taken all the sales.”
This blog post has set off a firestorm of reposting and discussions across the internet since it was written only a few days ago. Fortune, CNet, TechCrunch, HypeBeast, BuzzFeed, and The Loop have all published articles about this counterfeiting; furthermore, discussion of this topic has made it to the front page of reddit with nearly 1,200 comments and counting.
Hopkins has claimed that Amazon is complicit in this counterfeiting. And that there is an easy way to fix these counterfeiting issues. Amazon needs to provide, according to Hopkins, an open line of communication between the Sellers and Amazon so that Sellers can tell Amazon whether they sell their products wholesale from the factory. If Amazon had known this when Elevation Lab began selling, this problem may have been stopped before it even began.
At Amazon Sellers Lawyer, we deal with counterfeiting issues like this and many more on a daily basis. Our team works day-in-and-day-out to stop counterfeiters, take counterfeiter listings down, and reestablish Amazon Sellers’ businesses so they can go back to being profitable.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is famous for leaving a literal “seat at the table” in his boardroom to represent the Amazon customer. While we believe this seat at the table is an excellent idea and made with the best intentions, this idea is only half thought through. For the fourth quarter of 2017, third party sellers on Amazon represented 51% of the products sold. Bezos and his team can no longer ignore Amazon Sellers.
Sellers, just like Customers, need a seat at Amazon’s table. They need to have solutions for their rights and interests discussed and solved, so that problems from counterfeiters are stopped BEFORE they occur. Otherwise, if Amazon continues to only address counterfeiting problems days after they have occurred and their Sellers have lost profits, then Amazon may in-fact be a complicit partner in these counterfeiting operations.
This article was researched and written by Conor Wiggins. Conor is a second year law student at Hofstra University School of Law and is helping CJ Rosenbaum write a book on Chinese IP Law for Sellers. Conor is expected to work with Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., the law firm behind AmazonSellersLawyer.com, as a Summer Associate and then join the law firm helping Amazon Sellers upon graduation.
 Casey Hopkins, Amazon Is Complicit With Counterfeiting (Updated), The ElevationLab Blog (Mar. 1, 2018) https://www.elevationlab.com/blogs/news.
 George Anders, Inside Amazon’s Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes Customers, Forbes (April 4, 2012), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2012/04/04/inside-amazon/#57bc551b6199.
 Statista, The Statistics Portal, (2018) https://www.statista.com/statistics/259782/third-party-seller-share-of-amazon-platform/.