Member News

An Urgent Priority: IP Protection and Counterfeit Toys

By Steve Pasierb | President & CEO | The Toy Association

Member concerns about IP infringement and resulting potential risks to toy safety via online platforms are real and mounting. We’ve been working alongside our IP Protection Committee with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Senate Finance Committee staff, and representatives from leading e-commerce platforms, like Alibaba and Amazon, to raise member concerns and explore solutions, with the goal of ensuring that only safe, compliant toys are getting into the hands of children. 

We recently submitted a formal letter to the Senate Finance Committee as a response to their March hearing related to protecting e-commerce consumers from counterfeits. Our industry’s letter provides an overview of toy community concerns related to a number of forms of IP infringement, with a promise to provide the Committee with more specific information from industry stakeholders over the coming weeks. The letter stresses the importance of doing more to reduce the number of sellers online that have made a business from stealing U.S. intellectual property while ignoring essential safety requirements.

In our conversations with e-commerce platforms, we have stressed the importance of verifying the safety and legitimacy of products offered for sale. With the help of a range of member company representatives, we’ve authored a white paper that will be released very soon intended to detail our industry’s concerns and fuel solutions not just among the major platforms who have been listening, but all e-commerce marketplaces from the smallest to the newest. We have gone further to encourage the CPSC to pursue a working group of interested stakeholders to address the problem of unsafe toys sold online, and, in working with government agencies to help them better identify counterfeit and violative products entering the United States, we have offered to create a guide that will help agents spot non-compliant toys and include top IP violation trends across different toy product categories.

IP protection is both a safety and financial risk for our member companies and the entire business of toys.  As our work on this front continues, I encourage interested manufacturing members to join our standing IP Protection Committee. It’s the best way to stay current on The Toy Associations’ ongoing efforts to tackle this problem – and will ensure that you have a voice at the table. Please reach out to Rebecca Mond, senior director of federal government affairs, to learn more.

Protecting and promoting your business is at the core of The Toy Association’s reason for being. Please reach out to me if there are additional issues that you’d like information about, or new threats you’d like to make certain are receiving our attention.

All good wishes,

Steve Pasierb

Follow my posts on Twitter @StevePasierb

Compliments of The Toy Association, a member of the EACCNY