Arkansas Becomes First State to Pass Inform Act to Protect Consumers from Counterfeits Sold Online
April 14, 2021 | The Toy Association applauds the State of Arkansas’ passage of SB 470 – “An Act to Establish The Online Marketplace Consumer INFORM Act.” The bill closely mirrors the federal INFORM Consumers Act, which was introduced in March and aims to increase transparency and accountability for online marketplaces amid the rapidly growing problem of illicit goods sold online.
Arkansas is the first state to pass the INFORM Act; to date, 14 additional states have introduced similar bill language. Toy Association staff was active in helping to pass the legislation in Arkansas, having submitted testimony to the Senate Insurance & Commerce Committee; participating in the Buy Safe America Coalition; and meeting with the bill’s sponsor several times to provide background information on the issue.
“This critical legislation modernizes consumer protection laws and requires online marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information from sellers, in addition to requiring high-volume sellers to provide contact information to consumers,” said Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. “Though all toys sold in the U.S. must comply with rigorous safety standards and tests before reaching kids’ hands, unfortunately when consumers are shopping online, they don’t always know exactly who they are buying from and run the risk of unknowingly purchasing something that is both counterfeit and unsafe.”
The Toy Association’s advocacy against counterfeit toys at the state and federal levels remains ongoing. The team continues to work with congressional offices to reintroduce Intellectual Property (IP)-related bills, including the SHOP Safe Act and the SANTA Act, in addition to the INFORM Consumers Act. These bills incorporate recommendations from The Toy Association’s 2020 IP White Paper, Fake Toys Offline: A 2020 Focus on Proactive Measures to Reduce Counterfeits and Unsafe Toys Sold on Online Marketplaces, which highlights the importance of increased seller vetting and consumer transparency that third-party marketplaces should have in place to protect families from potentially dangerous counterfeits sold online.
Looking ahead, The Toy Association will be collaborating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other agencies on anti-counterfeiting measures to help toy brand owners protect their IP and reduce the number of fake products entering the country. A webinar on this topic hosted in cooperation with CBP and open exclusively to Toy Association members will be held this Thursday, April 22.
“We are pleased to see progress on this critical issue, but so much more still needs to be done,” added Desmond. “Stopping toy counterfeits from entering this country continues to be a top priority for The Toy Association and its members.”
Toy Association members who want to become involved in advocacy efforts at the state level are encouraged to reach out to Mindy Baker, director of state government affairs at The Toy Association. To learn more about The Toy Association’s federal advocacy efforts, please reach out to Leigh Moyers, senior manager of federal government affairs.