YETI and Amazon are teaming up in a lawsuit to go after alleged counterfeiters.
YETI and Amazon recently decided to team up to fight against alleged counterfeiters with a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. According to the suit, “Michael White and Karen White of San Diego, Calif., advertised, marketed, offered, and sold counterfeit YETI products, including the company’s Rambler mug, in the Amazon store” from February 2020 to September 2020. On top of that, the suit alleges the defendants used “YETI’s trademarks without authorization, despite receiving cease and desist notices from the retailer.”
The suit further states:
“As a result of their illegal actions, Defendants have infringed and misused YETI’s intellectual property (“IP”), willfully deceived and harmed Amazon, YETI, and their customers compromised the integrity of the Amazon store, and undermined the trust that customers place in Amazon and YETI…Defendants’ illegal actions have caused Amazon and YETI to expend significant resources to investigate and combat Defendants’ wrongdoing and to bring this lawsuit to prevent Defendants from inflicting future harm to Amazon, YETI, and their customers.”
When commenting on the matter, Cristina Posa, associate general counsel and director of Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit said the “company does not allow counterfeits in its store and takes aggressive action to hold bad actors that attempt to evade our proactive protections accountable.” Bryan Barksdale, YETI Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary chimed in and said the company “works aggressively to protect our consumers, our intellectual property rights, and our brand from the actions of counterfeiters and those who facilitate the importation and sale of counterfeit goods.”
For now, the selling accounts belonging to the defendants have been closed and refunds have been issued to customers who received counterfeit products. Believe it or not, this is just the latest counterfeit suit filed recently and the announcement of this suit comes during a time when Amazon is facing scrutiny from “lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not doing enough to combat counterfeit on its platform.” During a July hearing, CEO Jeff Bezos had to outline his company’s “fight against counterfeiters” and noted the issue is incredibly important to him. He added that “counterfeits are a scourge.”
In 2019, Amazon spent more than $500 on fraud prevention and launched Project Zero, “an initiative that aims to eliminate counterfeiting on Amazon’s marketplace through product tracing and automation that detects suspicious listings.” In June 2020, the company also launched its Counterfeit Crimes Unit, a team devoted to “pursuing bad actors and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including working with law enforcement.”