Social media

Amazon and Cartier slap Chinese social media influencer, 8 others with trademark infringement, false advertising lawsuits

E-commerce giant Amazon and manufacturer of luxury goods cartier on Wednesday, jointly sued a Chinese group for advertising, promoting and selling counterfeit jewelry that infringes the French company’s trademarks and violates the policies of the US shopping site.

Two joint lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against a social media northern China influencer and eight companies. They are accused of conspiring to sell fake Cartier bracelets, necklaces and rings and of false advertising by instagramLinktree social media referral landing page and other websites.

One of the products promoted by this group is a replica of Cartier’s Love bracelet, disguised as an unbranded product on Amazon and described as “Classic screw-on titanium steel bracelet for women,” according to an Amazon statement on Wednesday. He said the advertised product did not mention Cartier, but contained an image that carefully concealed the screw pattern of the French firm’s authentic Love bracelet.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends around the world? Get the answers with SCMP knowledgeour new curated content platform with explanations, FAQs, analysis and infographics presented by our award-winning team.

On Instagram, the product was clearly advertised as a counterfeit with images bearing Cartier’s name and a screw pattern, Amazon said. When the generic product was purchased from the Amazon site, the counterfeit Love bracelet bearing the Cartier marks was shipped to the purchaser.

Cartier’s iconic Love bracelet was first introduced as part of the French luxury goods maker’s Love collection in 1969.

The Chinese social media influencer used the handle “Phmn9y3v” on Instagram, while the eight companies were found to be registered and operating in various cities across the mainland, including e-commerce hubs Shantou and Shenzhen in southern Guangdong province, and Jinhua in eastern Zhejiang province, known for its small commodity wholesale market.

Those defendants in the joint Amazon and Cartier lawsuits could not be reached. The social media and Amazon accounts mentioned in the lawsuits were deleted on Wednesday.

“By using social media to promote counterfeit products, bad actors undermine trust and mislead customers,” said Kebharu Smith, Associate General Counsel and Director of Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit.

“Amazon will continue to invest and innovate to stay ahead of counterfeiters, and work with brands and law enforcement to hold bad actors accountable,” Smith said. We don’t just want to kick them out of Amazon, we want to shut them down for good.”

The lawsuits reflect more signs of trouble for the ‘made in China, sold on Amazon’ community, following a sweeping crackdown on the US e-commerce company which has removed thousands of Chinese sellers from the platform since last year. ‘last year.

Amazon targets merchants who engage in questionable practices, such as offering customers gift cards in exchange for positive reviews of their purchases – a common practice in China that goes against the US platform’s policies .

Despite its crackdown on paid reviews and other violations, Amazon said in January that the community “made in China, sold on Amazon” continued to grow in 2021. The number of Chinese sellers who achieved sales of $1 million or more jumped 50% year-on-year in 2021, and among this group, merchants reaching the milestone for the first time increased by more than 20%. .

Amazon’s marketplace has long been plagued by counterfeits, which involved various major brands. Most online merchants, many of them small businesses, rely on Amazon’s algorithms to unearth counterfeits before they appear – an automated process that dedicated scammers can sidestep.

Luxury Stores, Amazon’s online platform for various luxury brands, was launched for US consumers in September 2020. Cartier, which is owned by Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont, does not currently have a presence on Luxury Stores , but its products are available on Amazon through distributors. .

In mainland China, country updates Electronic Commerce Law impose tougher penalties for selling counterfeit products online.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.