Counterfeit goods, online marketplaces, regulation


With a simple click on your favorite online marketplace, any consumer can unknowingly buy counterfeit goods. Counterfeits are no longer limited to fake luxury bags on the streets of Chinatown. These dupes can be roller skates, children’s toys, and even car tires. However, counterfeit products’ impact reaches far beyond just consumer health and safety. Counterfeiting negatively affects small businesses, imposes financial burdens, and causes reputational damage. Online marketplaces are aware of the increase of counterfeit products on their websites. Yet, they continue to facilitate its growth because it is unlikely the online platforms will be held liable for the sale of counterfeit goods. Left with very little options, rightsholders often suffer and consumers are unaware of the dangers. In light of these growing concerns, Congress recognizes the need for anti-counterfeiting legislation. Expanding contributory trademark liability could be the most effective way to address this need, but representatives have left anti-counterfeiting law vulnerable. This Note addresses the tension between rightsholders and online marketplaces and proposes regulatory solutions to provide more guidance for anti-counterfeiting legislation.