Amazon's tough stance on counterfeiters appears to have paid off.
A federal jury ruled in favor of Fitness Anywhere LLC (TRX) on Thursday awarding the fitness equipment company $6.8 million in damages. The decision came after TRX sued WOSS Enterprises for patent and trademark infringement, alleging it manipulated e-commerce platforms like Amazon.
This decision marks a legal precedent in brands' battles with counterfeiters and e-commerce knockoffs.
"This jury award should serve as a notice to all those determined to engage in intellectual property infringement or other similar unlawful activity that they are not beyond the reach of justice by federal court juries," Paul Zadoff, president of TRX, said in a statement.
Amazon has been cracking down on fakes sold through its site over the past few years. In November it filed two lawsuits alleging that more than 20 companies and individuals were involved in selling knockoff exercise and furniture moving equipment.
Amazon has largely escaped criticism leveled at other online retailers, most notably Chinese rival Alibaba, for selling counterfeits through their websites. Amazon has years of investments in anti-counterfeiting technology and staff in its favor.
But as the Seattle retailer continues to grow at a rapid pace, suppressing counterfeit listings may be getting more difficult. The company now lists hundreds of millions of items online. Shoemaker Birkenstock pulled its products from Amazon last year amid what it said was a raft of counterfeits. And Apple sued a supplier of allegedly fake charging cables and power adapters that were sold on Amazon.
In its two lawsuits, Amazon alleged breach of contract and false advertising. It also asked the court to allow it to permanently ban the defendants and their employees from selling on Amazon's website.
Amazon didn't immediately return request for comment. Neither did WOSS.
"The internet has enabled a class of e-commerce parasites to evolve and feed on the investment and hard work of others," Randy Hetrick, founder and CEO of TRX, said in a statement. "This verdict is a big win for brand innovators and customers alike, and it officially puts the fraudsters and cheaters of our industry on notice."
First published March 31, 2:11 p.m. PT.
Update, April 11 at 5:03 p.m.: Clarifies TRX is the name of the fitness equipment company.
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