Our lives have been made increasingly easier over the past decade by the introduction of various online shopping platforms, however, not without challenges. Piracy and counterfeiting have been steadily increasing for several years, and online transactions are a major contributor.
“The rapid growth of e-commerce has revolutionized the way goods are bought and sold, allowing for counterfeit and pirated goods to flood our borders and penetrate our communities and homes. Illicit goods trafficked to American consumers by ecommerce platforms and online third-party marketplaces threaten public health and safety, as well as national security. This illicit activity impacts American innovation and erodes the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and workers.” – Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of US Dept. of Homeland Security
Furthermore, the Trump administration added a section to its recent “phase one” trade deal with China that will require both sides to take effective action against counterfeit goods. China agreed to implement harsher punishments including the possibility of taking away a platform’s operating license if they are caught making multiple counterfeit sales. The US will take measures to ramp up prevention as well.
According to a recently released Homeland Security report titled: “Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods”, new measures will give law enforcement officials the ability to identify counterfeit sales on platforms such as Alibaba or Amazon and impose civil fines and penalties against the offending suppliers. Customs and Border Patrol will also have increased authority to inspect and flag imported goods that are being sent to US warehouses/fulfillment centers. In response, Amazon has announced that it will report merchant information to the authorities every time a counterfeit sale is confirmed.
The report laid out 11 specific actions that the DHS will be taking as follows:
- Ensure Entities with Financial Interests in Imports Bear Responsibility
- Increase Scrutiny of Section 321 Environment
- Suspend and Debar Repeat Offenders; Act Against Non-Compliant International Post
- Apply Civil Fines, Penalties and Injunctive Actions for Violative Imported Products
- Leverage Advance Electronic Data for Mail Mode
- Anti-Counterfeiting Consortium to Identify Online Nefarious Actors (ACTION) Plan
- Analyze Enforcement Resources
- Create Modernized E-Commerce Enforcement Framework
- Assess Contributory Trademark Infringement Liability for Platforms
- Re-Examine the Legal Framework Surrounding Non-Resident Importers
- Establish a National Consumer Awareness Campaign
With the trend of piracy continuing to increase at an alarming rate, critics say that government policies alone will never be enough to put a stop to it. Ultimately, the general populace must understand the financial, safety, and even health risks associated with counterfeit goods, before a meaningful uptick in prevention can take place. Until then, it is in every buyer’s best interest to use a supplier with a proven track record of reliability. NetSource Technology employs a zero tolerance anticounterfeit policy and a multi-level inspection process on all products that pass through its facilities in order to identify and prevent potential counterfeit or low-quality parts. With an accreditation to the ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems, customers can be assured that products shipped by NetSource will be authentic and held to the highest standard. Click here to learn more.
Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods -DHS Report
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