The Trump administration is cracking down on the sale of counterfeit products online from platforms like Amazon.com, according to a new report released Friday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Law enforcement officials will immediately start to identify cases where counterfeit goods are being sold online, according to the report, and will “pursue civil fines and other penalties against these entities.” The report calls for new legislation to allow “the government to seek injunctive relief against third-party marketplaces and other intermediaries dealing in counterfeit merchandise.” The report also gives officials greater power to examine shipments in U.S. warehouses and fulfillment centers. Officials will notify the facilities of counterfeit goods and urge them to destroy or abandon any “identical offending goods in their possession.”
Total Retail's Take: While President Trump has frequently battled with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the administration was quick to point out that this initiative wasn't directed only at the Seattle-based online retail giant — although it certainly is a primary target. Amazon has long struggled with preventing the spread of counterfeit goods on its platform. While Amazon says it has a “zero tolerance” policy for copycat products and has developed tools to help manage the problem, its marketplace of third-party sellers continues to be plagued by pirated goods. Now, the entire e-commerce ecosystem is going to be held responsible for the sale of counterfeit goods, not just Amazon. The initiative comes after President Trump signed a “phase one” trade deal with China that requires both countries to “combat the prevalence of counterfeit or pirated goods” by taking “effective action” when platforms fail to prevent intellectual property infringement. The government is shifting the burden of preventing the sale of counterfeit goods from itself to the online marketplaces themselves, which may help bring an expedited solution to a problem that's long plagued the industry.