Amazon Sues Counterfeit Sellers

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Amazon is continuing its fight against counterfeiters. Along with Boulder-based company Nite Ize, a maker of specialty lights and phone mounts under the STEELIE brand, the eCommerce giant filed a lawsuit on Wednesday (June 26) in a Seattle federal court, accusing a group of counterfeiters of selling fraudulent Nite Ize products.

According to the filing, the issue was brought to Amazon’s attention in October 2018 after a tip from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which had seized a shipment of 300 counterfeit STEELIE brand car mounts. The agency alerted Nite Ize, which then alerted Amazon.

“Defendants have deceived Amazon’s customers and Amazon, infringed and misused the IP rights of Nite Ize, and harmed the integrity of Amazon’s store, and tarnished [Amazon] and Nite Ize’s brands,” the lawsuit said, according to reports.

The suit identified 11 individuals and businesses that advertised and sold counterfeit versions of Nite Ize products. The suit named individuals living in Minnesota, Maryland and Ontario as defendants, as well as businesses based in China.

Nite Ize introduced its STEELIE line in 2014, which offers a variety of products designed to make phone mounting easier. The company and Amazon want to recover actual and statutory damages, including the ability to recover the defendants’ profits.

This lawsuit is Amazon’s latest effort to take on the rampant counterfeit trade taking place in its online marketplace. In fact, the company even launched a suite of new tools this year to help brands and manufacturers go after counterfeiters.

“Each day, millions of consumers use Amazon’s store to purchase a wide range of products, across dozens of product categories, from Amazon and third-party sellers,” the company said. “Amazon recognizes that consumer trust is hard to win and easy to lose, so Amazon invests significant resources and effort into building and preserving its customers’ trust.”