Amazon not liable for selling counterfeit products

Bottles of Davidoff perfume in a shop window
Grzegorz Czapski /

Amazoncan not be held responsible for the sale of counterfeit products on its platform, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided in a case brought before it by cosmetics brand Coty.


Fulfilled by Amazon

According to the court, Amazon can not be held liable if merchants market, without its knowledge, counterfeit products on its marketplace. This is a major victory for the e-commerce giant, and a major defeat for many luxury brands that denounce the numerous counterfeit items offered for sale on the online platform.


The case was brought by the German branch of US cosmetics company Coty, which claimed Amazon was violating trademark law by stocking bottles of Davidoff perfume in its distribution centre for an illegitimate seller. The products were stocked and shipped by Amazon itself, making the retailer equally liable, according to the brand's reasoning. However, the Court ultimately decided that this was not the case.


Brands lose control

Amazon welcomes the decision, but stresses that it continues to invest heavily in the fight against fraudulent sellers. The company is committed to the total eradication of counterfeiting from its platform, Reuters reports. Coty, for its part, said it remains important for luxury brands to maintain control over online sales of their products. 


Many luxury brands as well as other major brands such as Nike are trying to halt the sale of their products on platforms such as Amazon and eBay. They want to preserve their brand exclusivity, but also claim counterfeiting is widespread.