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Author: Digital Law Group

DHS to Amazon: time to take responsibility for counterfeits

As most product marketers are aware, Amazon has a serious problem with counterfeits. What’s worse, is that many of the counterfeits are so convincing, consumers are unaware that they purchased inauthentic product. This is especially true when consumers purchase products under the seemingly protective marker of “fulfilled by Amazon.” Although not all consumers may be feeling the effects of the counterfeit pandemic (except that “brand name” products are of poorer quality than expected), product owners and marketers have been paying the price in terms of lost sales and goodwill for years. Fortunately, the current administration has taken...

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♪ CCPA is coming to town ♪

It certainly was a very happy holiday season kick off for U.S. retailers in November, with Black Friday seeing $7.2 billion in digital sales alone (up 14% from last year). However, increased consumer spending is not the only thing causing so much hustle and bustle for retailers and online businesses; new privacy laws are on their way and companies are dashing to get compliant. Over the past month, most everyone, whether a California resident or not, has received notices from numerous online companies encouraging users to review updates made to the companies' terms of use and privacy policies. ...

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Amazon fulfilling orders for hazardous products; possibly contributed to fatal accident

As most product marketers are aware, Amazon has a serious problem with counterfeits. Some of the most innocuous products such as wipes for cleaning eyeglass lenses are being counterfeited and sold on the platform at an alarming rate. What's worse, is that due to the "flea market" atmosphere of the site, dangerous and potentially fatal products are flooding the market; many under the seemingly protective marker of "fulfilled by Amazon." A recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal revealed that over 4000 items for sale on Amazon were mislabeled, declared unsafe by US agencies, or all-out...

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Supreme Court says trademark law is FUCT up; violates First Amendment

In a huge victory for clothing designer Erik Brunetti and free speech, on Monday, June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States (Court) struck down part of the Lanham Act that bans trademarking names and logos that are "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter." The case involved a dispute over a trademark application filed back in 2011 for the clothing line "FUCT" (pronounced as the individual letters F-U-C-T). The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused to register the trademark for the brand stating that the mark was a vulgar term and was banned from registration under section...

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Made in the USA?

Although we seem to be surrounded by products stamped with "Made in China," many Americans believe that products made in the United States are of higher quality. Additionally, a 2017 survey by Reuters found that nearly 7 in 10 respondents thought it was important to buy American-made, with over 20% of respondents indicating they would be willing to pay up to 10% more for those products. These figures may be even higher now due to the current administration's "America First" policy and goal to increase American manufacturing. As such, it is no surprise that companies want to...

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Battling another kind of “fake news”

When it comes to product reviews on Amazon or other marketplaces, it can be nearly impossible to distinguish legitimate product reviews from those paid for by a product marketer. Fake reviews have been a pretty standard marketing tool for some time; with product owners paying companies to post rave reviews of its product and poor reviews of competing goods. Fake reviews are so ubiquitous that, according to Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot, a site that flushes out fake reviews, up to 70% of reviews on Amazon are fake. This staggering figure is perhaps why...

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Stolen on Kickstarter

Many inventors turn to funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to get backing for their patent-pending products. While hundreds of thousands of innovative products have come to life with the support of crowdfunding sites, making it such an attractive option for cash-strapped inventors, there are those who have become victims of fast-acting counterfeit and knockoff artists. Steve Suddell, inventor of the "Neck Hammock," raised just over $200k on Kickstarter. He was on cloud nine - for about a minute. A week later, he began receiving angry emails from backers stating that his product was being sold...

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Inventors beware: invention promoters may not be out to “help” you

Unless you are a caveman, you have most likely seen InventHelp's commercials featuring celebrities such as George Foreman encouraging amateur inventors to call his friends at InventHelp. You know the pitch: "Do you have an idea for a new product or invention? How do I get my idea in front of companies? How do I get a patent?" For answers to these questions, you should call an intellectual property lawyer - not some paid celebrity's "friends" at an invention promotion company. Though not all are bad actors, many invention promotion companies (and consultants) have been...

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What a bunch of turkeys!

Impulse-buying millennials spent approximately $482 million on counterfeit products last year on Black Friday. This year, the trend is set to continue as it is predicted that one-in-four will purchase counterfeit items due to the buyer's inability to spot counterfeiters and the marketplace's laissez-faire attitude toward counterfeit sellers online. Considering that this year's online holiday spending is predicted to exceed $124 billion from November - December (with over $23 billion from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday alone!), it is imperative that buyers beware, and that product marketers actively police their online listings; lest their sales and reputations get gobbled up by...

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How U.S. subsidies aid Chinese counterfeiters

The Universal Postal Union treaty (UPU) is a United Nations agreement that was established in 1874 and sets shipping rates between 192 member countries. In 1969, in an effort to boost economic growth, the UPU set lower shipping rates for small parcels (4.4lbs and under) mailed from developing countries. While this move by the UPU was clearly well-intentioned, it has not been reassessed in several decades. As a result, despite being the world's second largest economy, China is still listed as a "developing country" and thus benefits from unreasonably low shipping rates - to the detriment of...

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