Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) have filed joint lawsuits against 13 defendants who attempted to market and sell inauthentic replicas of WWE’s title belts in Amazon’s store. The belts included commemorative WWE World Heavyweight, Universal, Intercontinental, United States, and NXT Championship title belt designs.
“Official and licensed WWE products, branded by our IP, are trusted by our fans around the world and we go to great lengths to protect consumers from counterfeits and other types of infringements,” said WWE Vice President of Intellectual Property Matthew Winterroth. “It’s our hope that other companies look at Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit as a model of how to partner with companies of any size to help combat this relentless threat.”
WWE combined its proactive IP monitoring and enforcement program with Amazon’s Project Zero and Brand Registry protection tools to detect infringing listings, and Amazon removed them. Then WWE partnered with Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit to pursue these lawsuits targeting bad actors who attempted to sell counterfeit products and falsely represent their locations and identities.
One group of defendants was found to be operating a fraudulent business out of New Jersey. In addition to the lawsuits, Amazon and WWE worked with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey to pursue these bad actors, which led to felony counterfeiting charges against two connected individuals for the sale of counterfeit WWE championship title belts.
Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit is a team of former federal prosecutors, former law enforcement agents, experienced investigators, and data analysts. The team was formed to work with brands and law enforcement to hold bad actors accountable.
“Amazon is committed to the authenticity of products in our store and protecting our customers from all forms of counterfeits, including those impacting fans of the iconic entertainment brand,” said Kebharu Smith, director of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit. “We will continue to work with WWE and Middlesex County law enforcement to bring these bad actors to justice.”
Case numbers in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington:
Who are you suing?We filed joint lawsuits with WWE against 13 bad actors. Case numbers in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington:
What did the defendants do?The defendants infringed and misused WWE’s intellectual property, and they attempted to market and sell inauthentic replicas of WWE’s championship title belts. Many of the defendants also falsely represented their locations and identities to Amazon.
Where are the defendants from?Our investigation with WWE only focused on and tested belts that were sold in the United States. One group of defendants was located in New Jersey.
Why is Amazon involved?We are focused on creating a trustworthy shopping experience each and every day for our customers. A critical part of earning and maintaining our customers’ trust is ensuring only authentic products are in our store. To do this, we’ve built tools to proactively monitor, detect, and remove inauthentic products from our store. We take customer protection one step further by holding bad actors accountable through lawsuits and criminal referrals, like this case in New Jersey, in an effort to prevent them from offending again.
What has Amazon done to hold counterfeiters accountable?Amazon has established its reputation as a global partner to brands in the fight against counterfeit through its collaboration with law enforcement, aggressive enforcement actions, and the removal of illegal products from the supply chain. Learn more about the Counterfeit Crimes Unit’s previous actions:
- Amazon is partnering with GE and GE Appliances to stop counterfeiters
- Amazon and Cartier file two joint lawsuits against counterfeiters using social media to traffic counterfeit luxury goods
- Amazon published second annual brand protection report demonstrating progress toward driving counterfeits to zero
- Chinese Authorities Raid Warehouse and Seize Counterfeit Belts With Intelligence From Amazon and Salvatore Ferragamo
- Amazon and Weber file joint lawsuit against counterfeiters
- Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit reaches settlement with influencers who ran social media counterfeiting scheme
- Amazon and Yeti file joint lawsuit against counterfeiters
- IPR Center, Amazon launch ‘Operation Fulfilled Action’ to stop counterfeiters