Apple sues Mobile star and states that the overwhelming majority of Apple cables and chargers fulfilled by Amazon are fake.
(Image: @flickrCC theilr)
A lawsuit against Mobile Star, a company based in New Jersey U.S.A, was filed on Monday in California. Mobile Star has been identified by Amazon.com as the manufacturer or supplier of counterfeit Apple products. Counterfeit products supplied by Mobile Star were fulfilled by Amazon and sold as genuine products.
Patently Apple, uncovered legal documents pertaining to a lawsuit against Mobile Star LLC. Reported in the Seattle times, Apple investigators purchased 100 Apple-branded products from Amazon that were listed as genuine and found 90% of them to be fake. Again what makes this case interesting is that these were sent from Amazon’s own retail unit. Amazon have very quickly placed the blame on Mobile Star and has given the full inventory of products purchased from Movie Star directly to Apple.
Amazon has long has problems with counterfeits on its site, however these mainly come from 3rd party sellers. Most consumers are aware of the risks and know that Apple guard quite well against counterfeits and so they look to buy official Apple or Apple certified products from reliable retailers. However the problem has arisen as these products appeared not only to carry the Apple Inc. brand but also were 'fulfilled by Amazon', providing a false sense of genuinity to consumers.
Apple claims that not only does thing infringe on Apple's IP but the counterfeits are a fire hazard as during testing they were prone to overheating and also ran the risk of electrocuting people.
Amazon claim to have been duped and that they were totally unaware the third-party products they sold and shipped were not genuine. In response Amazon have reiterated that it has a hard stance against the sale of fake products. In a statement given to Business Insider Amazon stated that:
“Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”
However Apple have appeared less enthusiastic about Amazon’s policy stating that they are continuously monitoring Amazon for fakes however despite this “fake Apple products continue to flood Amazon.com”
This doesn’t bode well for Amazon who have struggled to keep brands and manufacturers on their side due to the high level of counterfeits available on their website. Popular footwear brand Birkenstock left Amazon over counterfeits this year.
Amazon have reacted and began “Brand Gating” to protect against counterfeits, this policy requires sellers to produce receipts and charges them a fee for selling certain brands. It is in response to the many counterfeits that have been sold through the 'Fulfilled by Amazon' program, where Amazon have been criticised for not conducting authenticity checks on products shipped from its own warehouses.
Amazon is not alone in this problem, its global competitor Alibaba Group have received harsh criticism from brands in the U.S. and France, stating that Alibaba’s anti-counterfeit system isn’t enough to combat the problem and safeguard brands.
Counterfeits are growing in sophistication and much harder for manual processes to recognize and process. The counterfeit market is worth an estimated $1.7 trillion globally every year, scenarios like this are bound to become more frequent. If you're a brand owner, take a look at our free eBook to learn about how you can protect your IP against fakes.