Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and other companies headed to Capitol Hill June 4 for a closed-door meeting with House lawmakers on ways to block online counterfeit goods from flowing into the U.S.
Nike Inc. and Home Depot Inc. are also among the companies joining the meeting organized by Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), chairman of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, Martha Roby (R-Ala.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, and Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the full committee’s ranking member, according to a statement obtained by Bloomberg Law.
The meeting is aimed at helping U.S. retailers and brands voluntarily come up with best practices to protect trademarks and consumers, according to the statement.
Despite the companies’ efforts to take down counterfeit listings, consumer safety groups and merchants complain that knockoffs still make their way to consumers. House lawmakers are ramping up efforts to engage U.S. brands and e-commerce businesses to address the issue of counterfeits that may threaten consumer safety and compromise the brand value of U.S. businesses.
“Companies should have confidence that their trademarks will be protected, and consumers should have confidence that they are purchasing authentic and safe products,” Collins said in the statement. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in the online world, so we’re holding today’s roundtable to offer companies and online platforms the chance to come together to protect consumers and promote innovation by safeguarding Americans’ intellectual property.”
Combating counterfeits has been high on Congress’ intellectual property agenda. The Senate in April held a hearing to discuss IP issues facing the sports and apparel industry, including the potential health and safety risks posed by counterfeit goods sold online by foreign and domestic distributors and sellers.
President Donald Trump April 3 signed an executive memorandum directing the Homeland Security and Commerce departments to report by November on legal and enforcement actions and policy changes that could prevent trafficking in counterfeits, including drugs, mobile devices, and other goods.
“We’re encouraged by legislators’ focus on this important retail crime issue,” Christina Cornell, a Home Depot spokeswoman, said.
EBay is looking forward to working with law enforcement and other online marketplaces to stop illegal trade, Ryan Moore, an eBay spokesman, said. “Counterfeits are not welcome on eBay and we’re committed to combating their sale,” he said.
Amazon and Nike didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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(Updated with eBay, Home Depot comment)