AIM signs letter to Congress to fight against counterfeiting
Updated: Apr 15, 2022
April 14, 2022- Counterfeiting has harmed manufacturers, workers and consumers for decades, but the problem has gotten significantly worse with the explosive growth of e-commerce. Counterfeiters and other bad actors have taken advantage of these platforms to expand their reach, as was clearly seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, when bad actors abused online platforms to peddle fake tests, dangerous vaccines and ineffective personal protective equipment. Small- and medium-sized business are particularly at risk as counterfeiters target their core products. Broadly, counterfeit products harm American consumers, support criminal activity, threaten manufacturing investment, and put American jobs at risk: industry estimates show fake and counterfeiting cost the U.S. economy nearly $131 billion and more than 325,000 jobs in 2019 alone.
Fighting this growing epidemic requires strong, practical solutions that curb the availability of counterfeit
goods available on online platforms and provide better information to consumers and businesses to
protect themselves. Bipartisan groups of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have spent years
crafting two pieces of legislation which provide important new tools in the fight against counterfeiting,
the SHOP SAFE Act and the INFORM Consumers Act. These pieces of legislation were included in the
America COMPETES Act of 2022 passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 4, 2022
The SHOP SAFE Act would hold e-commerce platforms liable for counterfeit products sold on their platforms—just like their brick-and-mortar retail counterparts—unless they take a specific set of common-sense, preventative measures. Specific provisions include requirements for platforms to quickly take down bad listings and terminate repeat offenders, use technology to screen for counterfeit goods and ensure that sellers have a U.S. address or agent to ensure they cannot avoid litigation.
The INFORM Consumers Act would require online marketplaces to verify annually the identity
of high-volume sellers, collecting basic identification information and providing it to consumers
who have purchased products via the platform. Additionally, the bill establishes a regulatory
mechanism enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.
These two pieces of legislation work in tandem to seek out bad actors and protect Americans from
harmful and dangerous goods, with new tools which allow all parties, including platforms, businesses and consumers, to fight against counterfeiters. Both pieces of legislation have been crafted on a bipartisan and bicameral basis and reflect input from a wide range of stakeholders. These proposals have been the subject of extensive Congressional consideration and extensive discussions between committee leadership and bill sponsors, with a majority of both parties voting in strong favor of both bills in committee markups in the House.
The threats posed by fake, dangerous and counterfeit goods underscore the need for swift action. We look forward to working with our elected representatives in Congress to advance these important provisions, as well as to pursue additional legislative actions that can effectively tackle the growing tide of online counterfeit products.