Israeli brand battles sales of counterfeit and expired goods on Amazon
Premier Dead Sea is appealing a court decision after taking action against ecommerce giant Amazon.
The skin care brand says unauthorised third parties have been selling counterfeit, damaged and expired Premier Dead Sea products on the Amazon marketplace. These products potentially harm users’ skin and could damage the Premier Dead Sea brand with their inferior quality. However, Israeli court Judge Hannah Plinner rejected the case, stating that Israeli courts do not have authority over the matters of a global company.
The ruling came after the Israeli-based company publically served Amazon’s VP with legal papers at a conference in Tel-Aviv in October 2014. Premier Dead Sea has already announced that it plans to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, meaning Amazon could still stand trial in the country.
A similar case was taken to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2011 when L’Oréal complained about the number of counterfeit goods and parallel imports for sale on the auction site. While it was initially ruled that eBay was not jointly liable for counterfeit sales, the High Court asked the ECJ to clarify the obligations of online marketplaces to prevent trademark infringements. The ECJ said that websites share responsibility if they played an ‘active role’ in promoting the goods.
Legal expert Guy Ophir, who represented Premier Dead Sea in the case, labelled Judge Plinner’s verdict ‘absurd’. He said: “Amazon operates in Israel via an Israeli company called ‘Amazon Web Services’. It is absurd to define a multi-national company that benefits millions of dollars from the Israeli market every year, holds a local company to conduct its business and spent large sums of money on organising a conference in Tel-Aviv and flying its senior VP there, as not intentionally operating in the Israeli market and therefore not having to obey Israeli laws.”