Counterfeit Goods Current Affairs - 2020

What is ‘Project Zero’ introduced by Amazon in India?

To block selling of counterfeit goods on its platform, e-commerce giant Amazon has introduced ‘Project Zero’ in India, in a bid to ensure that customers receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon.

What is ‘Project Zero’?

It introduces additional proactive mechanisms and powerful tools to identify, block and remove counterfeits. More7,000 brands have already enrolled in Project Zero across United States, Europe and Japan. A number of Indian brands participated in a pilot to help Amazon test the experience in India.

How does Project Zero work? It combines advanced technology and innovation of Amazon along with sophisticated knowledge that brands listed of platform have of their own intellectual property as well as how best to detect counterfeits of their products. It does so through 3 powerful tools:

(1) Automated protections

(2) Self-Service Counterfeit Removal Tool– It works in a seamless manner and has brought relief to brand owners.

(3) Product serialization– It is enabled by a unique code that brands apply within their manufacturing and packaging process. It allows Amazon to individually scan and confirm authenticity of every single purchase of a brand’s enrolled products through Amazon’s marketplace.

Significance: Project Zero will ensure that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon. It could also lead to many more brands in India (from small and emerging entrepreneurs to large multi-national brands) partner with Amazon to drive counterfeits to zero and deliver a great shopping experience for customers.

Counterfeit, Pirated Goods and Global Trade

The assessment  by EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) carried out based on data from almost half a million customs seizures by international enforcement agencies highlights the following:

  • Global sales of counterfeit and pirated goods have increased to USD 522 billion a year, amounting to a whopping 3.3 per cent of world trade.
  • The share of counterfeit goods has witnessed a considerable rise since its previous 2016 estimate of 2.5 per cent of global trade.
  • Counterfeit goods represented 121 billion Euros worth of imports into the European Union alone which amounted for a massive 6.8 per cent of total imports into the bloc, up from five per cent in 2016.
  • Counterfeiting and piracy posed a major threat to innovation and economic growth, at both EU and global level.
  • Companies which were most affected by counterfeiting and piracy were mainly based in developed OECD nations like the United States, Japan, South Korea and EU states.
  • Even businesses in China, Brazil and Hong Kong are being increasingly hit.
  • Countries exporting the most counterfeit and pirated goods were China, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, India and Malaysia.

The EUIPO has expressed deep concerns about the rise in the counterfeit and pirated goods and called for coordinated action, at all levels, to fully tackle the menace of piracy and counterfeit products.