Amazon is known for its customer obsession, and a critical part of that is earning and maintaining our customers’ trust. Today, we and our millions of selling partners – the vast majority of which are small and medium-sized businesses – serve hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. Our customers expect that when they purchase an item in our store, they will receive an authentic product. If something goes wrong, customers can be confident they will always be taken care of.
As part of this commitment to earning and maintaining customer trust, we strictly prohibit the sale of counterfeit products and we constantly innovate to detect and prevent counterfeit products from reaching them.
In 2021, Amazon invested more than $900 million and employed more than 12,000 people – including machine learning scientists, software developers, and expert investigators –to protect customers, brands, selling partners, and our store from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse. By using a combination of advanced machine learning capabilities and expert human investigators, we have built robust proactive controls and industry-leading tools for brands—including Brand Registry, Project Zero, Transparency and IP Accelerator — to protect our store from bad actors. In 2020 we also created the Counterfeit Crimes Unit, a global team working with brands, law enforcement, and customers across the globe to hold bad actors accountable and stop them for good.
Collaboration is key. We are proud of the progress we have made. However, as we stressed in our blueprint for private and public sector action, preventing counterfeit across the industry requires retailers, logistics providers, customs, and government bodies to work together.
In Italy there is a great example of what the public and private sectors can do together to fight counterfeits. The FATA project, From Awareness to Action stemmed from an unprecedented collaboration between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – with its spinoff Crime&tech – and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of Amazon. It’s the first study developed in Italy analyzing systematically the evolution and the functioning of online counterfeiting. The "FATA" study has shown an interconnection of criminal schemes (poly-criminality) and a link between counterfeiting, fraud, economic-financial crimes and cybercrimes. As a result, awareness, prevention, investigation, and cooperation between public and private actors emerged as key factors to fight the new counterfeiting schemes, modi operandi, and criminal actors.
We’re glad to support this project that represents a successful model of collaboration between private and public bodies.
Collaboration is at the core of what Amazon and Amazon’s ’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit do every day, all over the world. As an example, in 2021 in the EU, we collaborated on anti-counterfeiting with Europol, Guardia Civil in Spain, Guardia Di Finanza in Italy, and Germany’s regional police services, as well as French, Belgian, German and Czech Customs agencies. We increased the number of counterfeiters we’ve sued or criminally referred by 300% over last year. In total, we sued or referred more than 600 criminals for investigation in the U.S., UK, EU, and China and filed civil litigation against more than 170 counterfeiters in U.S. courts. In Italy, we partnered with some Italian iconic fashion brands – such as Ferragamo and Valentino to file joint lawsuits against counterfeiters. We also worked with the Italian government - the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF) - to protect the local artisanal products which Italian SMBs sell on our stores. Overall, we believe that we have to continue to make bold changes in how we collaborate with private and public sector partners to stop counterfeiters.
As I said at the "FATA" event in Milan (25th October 2022) hosted by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, we are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with all institutions and law enforcement agencies, and to explore new ways of collaboration and information sharing, as suggested in the FATA report, and we will continue to invest and innovate to protect customers, brands, and our store. Our work is more effective when we work together.