Amazon and Epson accuse group of traders of selling counterfeit printing ink – The Register

Amazon and printer maker Seiko Epson have filed a joint lawsuit against companies in Turkey and the United Kingdom, claiming they were selling fake printer bottles and ink cartridges on the global online retailer’s platform.

a lawsuit [PDF] The lawsuit filed in the United States alleges that the traders infringed on the registered trademarks of Seiko Epson Corporation and Epson America Inc., and that Amazon joined the lawsuit to “permanently prevent … defendants from causing future harm to Amazon’s and Epson’s customers, reputation, and intellectual property rights.” .

In 2023 alone, Amazon invested more than $1.2 billion and hired more than 15,000 employees to protect its stores from counterfeiting, fraud and other forms of abuse, according to legal documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, Seattle.

However, some items definitely slipped through the cracks.

The technology companies claimed that between August 2021 and January 2024, traders created 24 sales accounts on the Amazon Marketplace platform to “sell counterfeit Epson products in interstate commerce.” The document lists 23 defendants, but also includes defendants unknown to the plaintiff.

The complaint alleges that the defendants worked together to promote, market, distribute and sell “counterfeit Epson brand products. The defendants are related to each other through common business and shipping addresses, public corporate records, moving addresses, financial accounts and/or telephone numbers.”

Under the terms of becoming a third-party seller on Amazon, traders must agree to “comply with all applicable Amazon laws.” [the] perform its obligations and exercise its rights,” court documents state.

According to court documents, Amazon allegedly used its rights under the third-party transaction agreement to block the defendants’ accounts after verifying that they were selling “fake Epson products.”

“Defendants’ unlawful conduct caused Amazon and Epson to expend significant resources to investigate and combat Defendants’ misconduct and to file lawsuits to prevent Defendants from causing future harm to Amazon, Epson, and their customers,” the tech companies said in the complaint.

The plaintiff claimed that the products the traders were accused of counterfeiting included Epson T522 EcoTank Ultra High Volume Bottle Black Ink and Epson 502 EcoTank Ultra High Volume Bottle Color Combo Pack suitable for some Epson EcoTank printers.

The two companies that filed the lawsuit argue that selling counterfeit products “knowingly and knowingly uses Epson’s intellectual property rights to engage in the advertising, marketing, distribution and sale of counterfeit and infringing Epson products.”

In addition to alleging trademark counterfeiting and infringement, Amazon and Epson also alleged false designations of origin and false advertising, breach of contract, and violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

Amazon and Epson asked the court to stop sellers and their agents from advertising and distributing counterfeit products on Amazon’s marketplace or from trying to open seller accounts or helping others do so. They also demanded that the offending products be seized and destroyed.

“This joint lawsuit with Amazon highlights Epson’s continued enforcement against infringing sellers of Epson cartridges, ink bottles and other consumables,” Jilana Miller, associate general counsel for Epson U.S.A., said in a press statement. “From obtaining a general exclusion order at the ITC, From raids and seizures of counterfeit products to regular enforcement through online marketplaces, Epson takes extensive efforts to address patent and trademark infringements in the marketplace.”

“Amazon has a zero-tolerance policy for counterfeit products and is working with the Epson team on this joint lawsuit to have a direct impact on these bad actors and permanently prevent them from selling counterfeit goods,” said Kobaru Smith, director of counterfeit crimes at Amazon. product.

Earlier this month, Miami resident Onur Aksoy was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for running a multimillion-dollar business selling fake Cisco equipment. Aksoy’s scheme lasted from 2014 to 2022 and oversaw at least 19 companies in New Jersey and Florida and had a significant online presence, with 15 Amazon accounts and 10 eBay accounts.

In 2021, Amazon’s brand protection report stated that the company destroyed more than 2 million counterfeit goods last year and refused to allow most potential sellers to open stores on its online marketplace. ®

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