Amazon Sues Counterfeit Sellers, Prioritizing Quality Over Short-Term Growth

This article originally appeared on Real Money on Nov. 15, 2016.

If Amazon (AMZN) is known for anything in the business world, it's for prioritizing growth above everything else. The company's often-aggressive pricing, manic build-out of new warehouses and data centers, big content investments and the steady launching of new perks for Prime subscribers all fit with this theme.

But this week, Jeff Bezos' company made a move that could ding near-term sales -- even if few consumers or pundits are likely to object much to it.

Following a slew of reports highlighting the growing availability of counterfeit goods from third-party Amazon sellers, Amazon has filed its first lawsuits against sellers alleged to have trafficked in fake merchandise. They're aimed at knockoff fitness and lifting equipment products carrying the TRX and Forearm Forklift brand names. TRX brand owner Fitness Anywhere joined Amazon as a plaintiff in one of the suits.

Amazon had already begun requiring more fees and paperwork from sellers looking to sell goods from major brands such as Nike (NKE) and Hasbro (HAS) , and claims it spends tens of millions annually to combat fake-goods sales.

But that wasn't enough for some brands: Shoe vendor Birkenstock announced in July it's pulling its products from Amazon due to the presence of counterfeits, and some merchants have sued the e-commerce giant in the past for its role in allegedly enabling counterfeit sales.

But suing alleged fake-goods sellers represents a clear escalation of Amazon's efforts.

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