What is the SHOP SAFE Act?

SHOP SAFE is a federal bill that is currently being considered as part of the Bipartisan Innovation Act (previously known as America COMPETES HR 4521 /USICA S 1260). The America COMPETES bill was passed by the House in February 2022 and includes elements of the flawed SHOP SAFE legislation.

What does it do?

The bill is designed to stop counterfeit sales online. But rather than addressing the issue, it effectively gives global brands control over the sale of their goods online.

What are the consequences?

If passed, SHOP SAFE would eliminate standing legal precedent and embolden big-name, global brands to wield more power against small businesses and the online marketplaces they sell on by effectively allowing trademark holders to further contest product listings. The bill effectively reshapes how the American online business owners selling via third-party marketplaces operate by unfairly putting the onus for this country’s counterfeit problems squarely on their shoulders.

Who does this affect?

Small online sellers. Online sellers will be forced to fumble through a largely subjective set of anti-counterfeit regulations – like product pre-screenings and government ID checks – most of which are unworkable and would have unintended consequences for individual and small business sellers.

What are people saying about SHOP SAFE?

“Legislators behind the SHOP SAFE Act are taking a complicated and misguided policy approach to protect consumers by reorienting copyright and trademark law previously established by overturning standing court precedent. If passed, the bill would adopt a guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude towards internet retailers, forcing legitimate small businesses that operate online to prove they aren’t selling stolen items.” – The Midwest Council “Small businesses, like mine, selling via online marketplaces could be on the hook to meet convoluted compliance standards and pass a subjective pre-screening process. Online sellers will be forced to fumble through a largely subjective set of anti-counterfeit regulations that most will find discouraging, if not unworkable. Even the pictures I post of my products online could be subject to scrutiny.” – Bryce Lee, owner of Hand and Home LLC