In their joint filing, Amazon and GoPro observe the difficulty of differentiating authentic and counterfeited GoPro products–at least at first glance.
Amazon and GoPro have filed a lawsuit against a group of Chinese businesses and individual entrepreneurs they claim sold fake GoPro products on Amazon.
According to Engadget, the two companies claim that China-based manufacturers imitated some of GoPro’s most popular products, in some cases using the company’s logo to bolster sales.
In their lawsuit, GoPro notes that some e-commerce retailers created and sold counterfeit copies of GoPro’s “3-Way” and “Handler” grips. These knockoffs, says Engadget, were difficult to differentiate from genuine GoPro products. Oftentimes, the only way prospective buyers could tell that the Chinese copies were counterfeit was through subtle differences in coloration and materials composition.
However, many consumers appear to have been unhappy with the Chinese-made “GoPro” knockoffs.
One reviewer wrote that they were “very disappointed” that their product was “provided by GOPRO. I will not purchase any more products of this brand from now on.”
The Verge observes that other customers were somewhat more skeptical after receiving purported GoPro products that failed to meet their expectations.
“It can’t be a real GoPro stick because it rusted after two days,” another purchaser wrote.
In a statement announcing the lawsuit, Amazon officials asserted that counterfeits damage companies’ rights while misleading consumers into making purchases from manufacturers they may otherwise avoid.
“When counterfeiters attempt to sell in our store, they not only violate the intellectual property rights of companies like GoPro, they also mislead consumers and harm Amazon’s reputation as a place to buy authentic goods,” said Kebharu Smith, lead director of Amazon’s new Counterfeit Crimes Unit.
Amazon has since taken action against identified counterfeiters. According to The Verge, the company has blocked the Amazon seller accounts of e-commerce retailers brought to its attention, and sent samples of purportedly fake products to GoPro for review.
Yahoo! Finance notes that Amazon and GoPro are hardly the first companies to take action against the producers of counterfeit goods.
In 2016, for instance, Apple claimed that over 90 percent of “Lightning”-brand cables and chargers—including many marked as “Fulfilled by Amazon”—were fake.
Despite teaming up with GoPro, Amazon nonetheless maintains that counterfeiting is neither widespread nor particularly prevalent on its platform.
In 2020, the company said that less than 0.01 percent of all products traded on Amazon received counterfeit complaints from consumers.
However, The Verge notes that Amazon does not publish figures on how many items are sold through its storefront. Considering how much business Amazon does, 0.01 percent of goods could represent tens of thousands of sales each year.