Last month, President Trump issued an executive order for government agencies to investigate the flow of counterfeit and pirated goods coming into the United States, and to investigate the procedures of third parties that facilitate their import or sale. Government agencies are directed to work with online marketplaces, such as Amazon, carriers, custom brokers, payment providers, vendors and others involved in international transactions, to report their findings. The findings are to be submitted in a report by the end of the year.
Among other things, the report is ordered to include administrative or regulatory actions that could be taken to reduce counterfeit and pirated goods being trafficked into the U.S, as well as guidelines for third-parties such as Amazon to follow.
The Department of Homeland Security will be spearheading the efforts outlined in the order, which says, “Existing efforts within the Federal Government to deter online trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods through third-party intermediaries should be expanded and enhanced to better address the scale, scope, and consequences of counterfeit and pirated goods trafficking.”
The executive order was issued after the Government Accountability Office found more than 40 percent of a small sample of goods in frequently counterfeited product categories were fake. The products in the sample set were purchased on online marketplaces. The order reads, “It is the policy of my Administration to protect American businesses, intellectual property rights holders, consumers, national and economic security, and the American public from the dangers and negative effects of counterfeit and pirated goods, including those that are imported through online third-party marketplaces and other third-party intermediaries.”
Counterfeit products and stolen intellectual property is an online retail problem that disproportionately impacts small and independent businesses that have their products copied by other manufacturers. It is unclear what, if anything, will come of this order and the end-of-year report, but it’s possible there will be new regulations cracking down on counterfeit merchandise in the years to come.
You can read the full memorandum and executive order at whitehouse.gov.