Counterfeit Concerns: Toy Association’s Rebecca Mond Testifies Before Congress

July 23, 2019 | The Toy Association’s Rebecca Mond, vice president of federal government affairs, was invited by Congress to testify last week on the toy industry’s concerns regarding the prevalence of counterfeit toys sold on e-commerce platforms.

Speaking July 18 in front of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, Mond highlighted the risk of infringing products, many of which do not meet the same safety standards as legitimate toys sold through legitimate channels and pose a significant health and safety risk to America’s most vulnerable consumers – kids.

She also provided feedback on legislative and marketplace changes that could be made to reduce the ubiquity of counterfeits, including increased and improved vetting of sellers prior to joining marketplaces; consistent data requirements across platforms and information sharing among platforms, brand owners, and enforcement agencies; and exploring whether marketplaces should have greater liability to ensure the authenticity and safety of the products they sell.

“The Toy Association appreciates that online platforms have been willing to engage with us on our concerns and have taken some meaningful steps in a positive direction,” stated Mond.  “However, as it stands today, legitimate toy brands selling through local toy stores are playing by one set of rules and foreign sellers that exploit marketplaces are playing by another set of rules or are not playing by the rules at all. And without significant changes to level the playing field, we will continue to be fighting a losing battle. We welcome the opportunity to explore these concerns and potential solutions with the subcommittee and others.”

As part of its ongoing advocacy and education efforts surrounding the harmful impact of counterfeits on the toy community, The Toy Association is also submitting comments to the Department of Commerce in response to the Presidential Memorandum, “Combatting Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods.” The department is seeking data for use in preparing a report for the president on how businesses are affected by counterfeit or pirated goods imported through online third-party marketplaces; factors contributing to the trafficking of such goods; technologies that could substantially reduce the sale and importation of counterfeits and enable more effective law enforcement; and more.

The Toy Association welcomes additional input for its submitted comments; please send any feedback to Rebecca Mond by Friday, July 26.

More information on the toy industry’s position and concerns related to counterfeit and pirated goods can be found in The Toy Association white paper, “The Real Threat of Fake Toys.”