The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and alleges the defendants conspired to use Ferragamo’s registered trademarks without authorization, offering the counterfeit products on Amazon, deceiving customers about the authenticity and origin of the products and the affiliation with the Florence-based brand.
“We do not allow counterfeit products in our store, and we have made it crystal clear that we take aggressive action to hold accountable bad actors who attempt to evade our proactive protections,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president, customer trust and partner support at Amazon. “Through our Counterfeit Crimes Unit, we are working closely with luxury and cosmetics brands, small businesses and brands with global name recognition. We will continue to fight to protect intellectual property from small family-owned businesses through Fortune 500 companies.”
Amazon in 2019 alone invested more than $500 million to protect customers and brands from fraud and abuse, including counterfeits, trough robust seller vetting, for example, as well as advanced machine-learning based technologies, and brand protection tools such as Project Zero, Brand Registry and Transparency. As a result, Amazon states that 99.9 percent of all products viewed by customers on its platform have not received a valid counterfeit complaint.
Amazon has filed a series of lawsuits against counterfeiters and previous joint lawsuits included those with Valentino, cosmetics brand KF Beauty, family travel accessory brand JL Childress and Yeti coolers.
“The actions we implemented with great determination in recent years in the fight against counterfeiting have allowed us to achieve good results in protecting the brand,” said Salvatore Ferragamo’s chief executive officer Micaela le Divelec Lemmi. “Made in Italy [production], our brand’s quality is based on values such as research, innovation, sustainability and craftsmanship are fundamental for us and for this reason our commitment to safeguarding the brand and our community of consumers is at its highest.” The executive said the joint action with Amazon underscores how “the protection of intellectual property is a priority for Ferragamo and how the company is pursuing the fight against counterfeiting with full awareness and resolution.”
Over the years, Ferragamo has firmly implemented a series of offline and online anti-counterfeiting measures. In 2020, its online monitoring activities enabled the brand to intercept, block and remove 3 million illicit profiles from the main social media platforms worldwide and approximately 94,000 counterfeit products were blocked and removed from online auction sites. Ferragamo has also filed actions against hundreds of illegal websites through civil proceedings in New York federal court, and was recently awarded $2.8 million in damages.
As a part of its policy to fight counterfeiting, Ferragamo also carries out numerous offline investigations and pursues infringers through civil litigation and out-of-court proceedings. In 2020, 240,000 products bearing Ferragamo’s counterfeit trademarks were seized worldwide thanks to joint efforts with law enforcement authorities.
As reported, in 2018, the New York Southern District Court awarded the luxury company compensation of $60 million, delivering an injunction against 60 unidentified holders of illegal online profiles that were selling counterfeit Ferragamo products. The court transferred to Ferragamo around 150 domain names that were infringing upon the brand’s rights. The amount was identified as exemplary since the defendants are hard to locate and thus the compensation is unlikely to ever be collected, as in most counterfeit cases of this type.
In 2017, the measures implemented by Ferragamo led to having more than 35,000 items and illegal profiles removed from major social networks, as well as the interception, blocking and deletion of nearly 69,000 counterfeit products from online auctions. The group constantly monitors offline markets through different court and out-of-court activities, focusing its efforts on China. Last year, about 62,000 counterfeit products were seized in China, out of the more than 268,000 counterfeit products seized around the world.
Ferragamo also introduced a key law enforcement tool, starting with the pre-fall 2014 collection, by inserting microchips into its women’s shoes, or a radio frequency identification tag, guaranteeing product authenticity, as well as the possibility to track products. The brand then extended the use of the microchip to products including men’s, women’s small leather goods, luggage and bags, ties and foulards, for example.