Amazon Blamed for Sales of Counterfeit Phone Chargers

(CN) – Amazon is facing a federal lawsuit from an Ohio phone-charger manufacturer that claims the retail giant fulfilled its customers’ orders with counterfeit products.

Fuse Chicken LLC alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition, copyright infringement and tortuous interference in the complaint filed Friday in Akron federal court.

Fuse Chicken, which began in 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign, touts its tablet and cellphone chargers as “the toughest cable on earth.”  Its products are trademarked in the United States, European Union and China.

The company says it started selling its products on Amazon in 2013. Amazon buys Fuse Chicken products and sells them on its site.

Fuse Chicken also sends its products to Amazon fulfillment centers, where they are packed and shipped, according to the lawsuit.

However, Fuse Chicken claims that Amazon’s system allows counterfeiters to put their products into the stream of commerce.

“Any seller purporting to sell Fuse Chicken products, authentic or not, can click ‘Sell Yours Here’ and be listed as a Fuse Chicken seller under the product page created by Fuse Chicken, which is populated with plaintiff’s marks and registered copyrighted materials,” the complaint states.

Fuse Chicken says this process “results in damage to the brand and consumer dissatisfaction.”

According to the lawsuit, Fuse Chicken discovered this problem last November and contacted its assigned Amazon business development manager.

He advised Fuse Chicken to send a complaint by email, but it was never resolved, the complaint alleges.

The company says a customer complained in December 2016 that a purported Fuse Chicken lightning car dock was of “really bad quality” and broke after one week of use.

Fuse Chicken claims it complained to Amazon that the broken product was counterfeit, but Amazon would not remove the online review and one-star rating.

In May, Fuse Chicken purchased one of its own products on the Amazon Warehouse Deals section of the retailer’s site and the product it received was a knock-off, according to the lawsuit.

“Neither the packaging nor the cable data product itself referenced Fuse Chicken,” the company alleges.

Fuse Chicken says it filed the lawsuit because Amazon failed to respond to its 10-page cease-and-desist letter, which contained “several verifiable examples of counterfeit and knock-off sales.”

The phone-charger maker is represented by Joel Holt of Ickes Holt in Kent, Ohio.

Amazon did not immediately respond Monday to an email request for comment.

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