Global IP Matrix - Issue 5


It has been a fantastic year for The Global IP Matrix magazine, thanks to all the efforts made by our contributors and to you, the reader for your continued support. We take great pleasure in putting together each issue of this publication, and we sincerely hope you enjoy this final issue of 2019. We have again, collaborated with some of the world's most influential IP law firms and businesses to bring you another eclectic mix of content, direct from the professionals working at ground level. We are already excited for the coming year and cannot wait to continue growing and evolving in our partnerships to bring you some exciting new features for 2020.

Ms. Elvin Hassan
Editor & Head of international liaisons

The self-service tool allows a brand to search

the Amazon platform and, if they believe

they’ve found a counterfeit, the brand can take

it down itself. This gives brands unprecedented

power to control and remove listings from the

Amazon store directly.

“I’m excited about the technology

advances underneath the protections...

I’m not aware of anyone else that, at

scale, is giving brands access to remove

products from their store directly.”


However, in order to maintain this autonomy,

brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy.

There are several processes in place to promote

accuracy, including required training as

part of Project Zero enrolment and ongoing

monitoring to prevent misuse of these tools.

Some brands who have unfortunately not

managed to reach this level of accuracy, have

been removed from the programme.

Abuse of Power “There’s been a couple

of cases where brands [have been]

abusing the self-service counterfeit

removal tool, so we’ve removed a small

number of brands from the project,”

warned Mehta.

Product Serialisation


The final tool is a product serialisation

capability, which provides brands with a

unique code for every product it manufactures

and allows Amazon to scan and verify the

authenticity of every unit before it is shipped

to a customer.

Product serialisation is a powerful tool for

detecting and stopping counterfeits from

reaching customers. Brands also have the

choice to determine which of their products to


Brands do not need to serialise their products

to enrol in Project Zero. However, the brands

that do serialise their products are reportedly

seeing the best results.

Merchants obtain tracking numbers from

Amazon and apply them to their products

and packaging, so Amazon’s systems can scan

items for authenticity. It builds upon the Brand

Registry, for registering logos and trademarks

to facilitate detection of infringement,

introduced in 2017.

“Unlike other companies, Amazon’s

product serialisation is more proactive,”

said Mehta. “Many other companies

will apply a unique code during the

manufacturing process, so the customer

is able to scan the code after purchasing

the project, which is entirely reactive,”

he said.

The Success of Project

Zero in the USA

Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President, Amazon

Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner

Support, spoke about the US version of the

project and the progress it’s made.

“More than 99.9% of the products that

consumers view have never received

a counterfeit complaint,” Mehta said.

He added that while that’s a high rate

of authentic products being sold on

Amazon, it’s not perfect and it’s not

resulting in zero counterfeits. “How

could we combine what Amazon has

in terms of strengths in technology,

machine learning, and innovation

with the strengths brands have in

the intimate knowledge of their own

products and IP? Moreover, how can

we work together to drive products to

zero?” he said.

While Mehta is not an expert in what other

online platforms are doing, he believes that

each of the components of Amazon’s suite is


“More than 99.9% of the products that

consumers view have never received

a counterfeit complaint,” Mehta said.

He added that while that’s a high rate

of authentic products being sold on

Amazon, it’s not perfect and it’s not

resulting in zero counterfeits.

Mehta concludes: “The initial results

from Project Zero have been promising

and we will keep improving – we will

continue to refine our technology,

expand to more countries, and will

continue to work with brands to drive

counterfeits to zero.”

“A core part of that memo is around

the value and impact we can have by

government organisations, brands,

marketplaces … working together to

stop counterfeits. We’re super aligned

with that, and I think there’s more we

can do there,” explained Mehta.

The brands that are using serialisation as part

of Project Zero haven’t used the self-service

counterfeit removal at all, according to Mehta.

Also, for those brands using the self-service

tool, Amazon has received zero notices of

counterfeits from them.

Deterrent Effect

Mehta also believes that while criminal

referrals are not the end-all solution,

they are a significant deterrent; “If

you look at digital piracy and what

happened several decades ago in terms

of monetary and criminal penalties,

I don’t think counterfeiting has kept

pace.” He added, “The more we can do

to create additional disincentives for

the bad actor and get better at detecting

them is good for all of us.”

Lisa Lovell, CEO of Brand Enforcement UK

Ltd, concludes, “As well as online enforcement

initiatives such as Project Zero, many brand

owners combine these efforts with offline

enforcement initiatives. Many of our clients

not only want to disrupt online trade; they

also want to follow the money to obtain some

physical evidence in the form of a product.

From this, we can establish far greater

intelligence about whoever is operating the

online listing. It often leads us to warehouses

where all of the stock is kept”.

Where physical evidence is found in the United

Kingdom, brand owners can also work with

Trading Standards so that they may consider

bringing a criminal action against the offender

on behalf of the brand. “We liaise with Trading

Standards on behalf of our clients, provide

them with the relevant witness statements

and documentary evidence in order that they

may pay an informal or even official visit to

the trader’s premises. They can make official

enquiries as to the source of the supply of the

goods and can even bring a prosecution on

behalf of the brand which costs nothing but the

time it takes to draft the witness statement”.

In some circumstances where Trading

Standards may not be able to assist due to

resource issues, brands may want to consider

bringing a private criminal prosecution or a

civil action. “Once the physical evidence has

been gathered, we are able to utilise this for

either private criminal or civil actions. In any

event, it is essential that brands must think

about their online efforts versus their offline

efforts as a combination of both will always

bring the best results.”

Learn more about Project Zero and sign up to

join the waiting list at


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