Chinese authorities crack down on counterfeiting ring

by Emily Atkins

The Chinese authorities have raided a warehouse in Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province, following tips from Amazon and fashion design house Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. about counterfeit items being sold.

Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU) worked closely with  to report a counterfeiter of Ferragamo’s Gancini belt to Market Supervision and Administration (MSA) authorities.

Following an investigation by the MSA and Amazon’s CCU, officials raided the criminal’s warehouse, seizing hundreds of counterfeit belts and buckle accessories that may otherwise have been sold through retail channels around the world. Amazon and Ferragamo say they will continue to assist law enforcement in investigating counterfeiters and preventing their products from entering the global supply chain, to help stop this illicit trade at the source.

“Amazon is grateful for the collaboration from Ferragamo and the MSA in protecting customers from these counterfeit products,” said Kebharu Smith, head of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit.

“This should serve as a reminder that bad actors will be held accountable, as Amazon collaborates with both brands and law enforcement agencies around the world to stop inauthentic products from being sold across the retail industry.”

The case originates from a worldwide investigative effort against certain bad actors, which Amazon and Ferragamo identified as trying to sell in Amazon’s store. In February 2021, Amazon and Ferragamo jointly filed two lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and allege the defendants conspired to use Ferragamo’s registered trademarks, without authorization, to deceive customers about the authenticity and origin of the products and the affiliation with Ferragamo.

Over the years, Salvatore Ferragamo has implemented a series of offline and online anti-counterfeiting measures to protect its customers and its brand. Thanks to these actions, in 2021, more than 22,000 infringing products and pieces of illicit content were removed from social media platforms and more than 130,000 listings related to counterfeit products were identified and removed from marketplace service providers.

In 2021, Salvatore Ferragamo also carried out regular controls on physical stores launching several in-and out-of-court administrative and criminal proceedings, with a specific focus on China. Thanks to the increasing cooperation from local authorities, almost 450,000 counterfeit products were seized worldwide.

Amazon strictly prohibits infringing and counterfeit products in its store and, in 2020, Amazon invested more than US$700 million and employed more than 10,000 people to proactively protect its store from fraud, counterfeit, and abuse. Amazon uses industry-leading tools to verify potential sellers’ identities and ensure product listings are authentic, and Amazon’s proprietary systems analyze hundreds of unique data points to verify information provided by potential sellers.

In 2020, only six percent of attempted new seller account registrations passed Amazon’s verification processes and listed products for sale. In addition, fewer than 0.01 percent of all products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers.

Amazon launched the CCU in 2020 to help hold counterfeiters accountable through the courts and law enforcement. This global team – made up of former federal prosecutors, former law enforcement agents, experienced investigators and data analysts – pursues targets around the globe. Amazon’s CCU supports law enforcement efforts to catch those attempting to sell counterfeits.