“The Real Threat of Fake Toys”, a White paper from the Toy Association

“The Real Threat of Fake Toys”, a White paper from the Toy Association

Founded in 1916, the Toy Association is representing companies that design, produce, license and distribute toys and entertainment products for youth. It has more than 950 members, including Amazon. The Toy Association defends the interests of its members, including the toy safety and brand protection of its members. In this regard, the association has just published a white paper on the threat of counterfeit toys (toyassociation.org)

The Toy Association is very concerned about the increasing propensity of counterfeit toys in e-commerce. It recalls that counterfeiting affects many levels: the safety and health of users, the reputation of genuine stakeholders, and the economy (micro and macro). According to the association, the growth of online toy counterfeiting can be explained by the following factors:

1. E-commerce platforms have built a low hurdle against counterfeiters;
2. The burden of enforcement is disproportionately on the rights holder; and
3. Consumers are largely unaware of the problem of counterfeiting as they believe they can trust online platforms.

The association proposes that online markets adopt the following measures:

  • proactive identification of sellers;
  • proactive product filtering by requiring vendors to demonstrate legitimacy and provide child product certificates;
  • better collaboration with the owners of intellectual property rights, which would concretely amount to:
    • create programs offering them a presumption of authenticity;
    • implement more streamlined delisting processes;
    • define direct points of contact for the sector;
    • provide training on best practices to adopt; and
    • promote transparency.

The Toy Association goes further in the sense that it believes that legislative amendments to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) may be necessary to address the misuse by violators of the counter-notification provision.

An alternative solution, according to the association, could be for industry groups, such as the Toy Association, to set up and publish a ranking system for online marketplaces based on various factors to be determined by stakeholders, including how the platform monitors vendors and products, and how the marketplace responds to withdrawal requests.

Nevertheless, the Toy Association is looking forward to growing cooperation with Amazon and Alibaba.

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