“Congress must create accountability to prevent these hazardous items from infiltrating the homes of millions of Americans. The SHOP SAFE Act would make families safer by requiring online sellers to help prevent the sale of counterfeit products to consumers.”

WASHINGTON — Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, today introduced the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act to stop the online sale of dangerous counterfeits. The bill incentivizes platforms to engage in a set of best practices to curb the presence of counterfeits on their sites.

“Consumer lives are at risk because of dangerous counterfeit products that are flooding the online marketplace. Congress must create accountability to prevent these hazardous items from infiltrating the homes of millions of Americans. The SHOP SAFE Act would make families safer by requiring online sellers to help prevent the sale of counterfeit products to consumers. President Trump and Peter Navarro have taken great strides to address counterfeit issues, and the SHOP SAFE Act will help achieve their goals,” said Collins.

“American consumers increasingly turn to the internet to shop. Counterfeiters have followed consumers, and it is clear more must be done to combat the rising trend in online sales of counterfeit products. Consumers should be able to trust that what they see and purchase online is what they will get, but counterfeiters continue to join platforms with ease and masquerade as reliable sellers in order to infect American households with dangerous and unsafe counterfeit products. The SHOP SAFE Act proposes a set of commonsense measures to tackle the gaps in these platforms’ systems and stop counterfeit sales,” said Nadler.

“Counterfeit products directly impact brands and consumers while also posing serious dangers to public health and safety. It is critically important that we combat the sale of these harmful products online,” said Roby.

“Counterfeit products pose significant threats to consumer health and safety and have devastating impacts on businesses. Platforms must do their part in ensuring that their sellers are reliable and that their products are authentic. This legislation makes great strides in addressing the increasing problem of unsafe counterfeit products sold to unsuspecting consumers by encouraging platforms take steps that are reasonable, workable, and necessary for keeping dangerous counterfeits out of consumers’ hands,” said Johnson.

The SHOP SAFE Act would:

  • Establish trademark liability for companies who sell counterfeits that pose a risk to consumer health and safety.
  • Require online platforms to establish best practices to vet sellers to ensure their legitimacy, remove counterfeit listings, and remove sellers who repeatedly sell counterfeits.
  • Call for online marketplaces to take steps necessary to prevent the continued sale of counterfeits by the third-party seller or face contributory liability for their actions.

Background on counterfeits:

  • Courts currently will not hold the online seller responsible for selling counterfeits to consumers regardless of the fact that the seller is responsible for every step in the transaction.
  • Many counterfeits do not undergo safety testing and pose a substantial health and safety risk for consumers and pose a financial risk for companies. Products like cosmetics, baby formula, batteries, chargers, air bags, car seats and breaks are a few of the potentially life-threatening counterfeits currently sold online.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 20 of 47 items purchased from third party sellers on popular consumer websites were counterfeit.
  • On January 24, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security released a report — pursuant to President Trump’s April 3, 2019, Memorandum on Combatting Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods — outlining recommendations the federal government and online marketplaces can take to reduce the number of counterfeits. The report notes that private sector actions have not been sufficient to prevent the importation and sale of a wide variety and large volume of counterfeit and pirated goods to the American public.