On February 1, Amazon.com, Inc. filed a Form 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Along with reporting its year-end earnings for the 2018 fiscal year, this particular SEC filing was notable because Amazon officially acknowledged to shareholders that the company’s online sales platforms face the risk of being found liable for fraudulent or unlawful activities of sellers on those platforms. This includes the company’s first-ever concession that Amazon may be unable to prevent sellers trafficking counterfeit and pirated goods. “The law relating to the liability of online service providers is currently unsettled,” Amazon’s Form 10-K filing reads. Along with the specter of counterfeit sales, Amazon noted that its seller programs may render the company unable to stop sellers from collecting payments when buyers never receive products they ordered or when products received by buyers are materially different than the sellers’ description of those products at the point of purchase. While information regarding a corporation’s potential risk of liability is a regular feature of SEC filings, news reports indicate that this is the first time that Amazon used the word “counterfeit” in an annual report.
As Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing, notes, OIN is able to grant free membership to companies joining the consortium thanks to the efforts of eight full-funding member companies which have each funded $20 million to support OIN’s operations through an endowment. These companies include the first six companies to form OIN: Sony, Phillips, IBM, Red Hat, NEC and SUSE; joining those companies are Google and Toyota. OIN’s board consists of representatives from each of these full funding members. Every new member of OIN signs the same licensing agreement as the full-funding members, giving all members in the organization equal standing in terms of the cross-license agreement.
Although Amazon is typically quick to reference its anti-counterfeit policy as proof of its commitment to weeding out inauthentic products from its retail platform, watchdog groups continue to point at major concerns regarding Amazon’s true intentions regarding the sale of counterfeits. Most recent among these is a press release issued on June 5th by The Counterfeit Report which strongly suggests that Amazon and Jeff Bezos have every intention of skirting the rules to continue the financial benefits they receive from the sale of counterfeits. The Counterfeit Report received multiple e-mail responses to counterfeit product issues it presented to Amazon. Those official Amazon e-mails indicate that Bezos received e-mails from The Counterfeit Report and that the e-mail sender was answering on Bezos’ behalf. Amazon’s official stance, as outlined by these e-mails, counterfeit products will continue to be listed on Amazon’s website in countries where the trademark covering the brand isn’t registered.
A statement published on the official website of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) indicates that the company expects to have a fully autonomous car in commercial operation by 2021. Ford believes that it will be able, by that time, to produce a vehicle which meets Level 4 automation as standardized by the engineering association SAE International. Last October, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced that Ford will bring autonomous vehicles to a test market this year. One of the strategies the company will pursue is partnering with other companies to help bring the technology into the market, such as autonomous Domino’s pizza delivery services in Miami where the company will test how consumers interact with autonomous delivery services. Ford is investing $ 1 billion into vehicle artificial intelligence firm Argo AI to develop systems that give Ford vehicles the ability to transverse an urban environment like Miami.
At issue in the trademark infringement suit is Amazon’s sale of counterfeit wheel center caps bearing distinctive Mercedes-Benz trademarks… Daimler argues that Amazon “facilitates the sale of an exorbitant number of counterfeit and infringing goods” through its platform, counterfeit activity which has increased since 2015 when the company began inducing Chinese manufacturers to list on its U.S. and European e-commerce platforms. Daimler notes that lawsuits over counterfeit products have been filed against Amazon by well-known consumer brands including a February 2017 suit filed by French luxury goods brand Chanel against the American e-commerce giant.
In many ways, 2015 has been the year of the automobile, especially in the tech world. Throughout the course of the year we’ve noted a great deal of business and technological developments that have been reshaping the entire vehicle manufacturing sector. Gone are the days that the market is completely dominated by names such as General Motors Company, Ford Motor Company or Toyota Motor Corp. As 2015 draws to a close, these traditional automaker behemoths are seeing encroachment on their position from some unusual names, especially those residing in Silicon Valley.