Amazon is being called out again for allegedly copying the product of a company that sells on Amazon, but rather than taking legal action, San Francisco-based is taking to YouTube.
The maker of travel bags and camera accessories alleges in a video uploaded Wednesday (above) that an Amazon Basics bag is basically a knock-off version of a bag Peak Design sells called the . Amazon even named its bag Everyday Sling, before changing the name to .
Peak Design sells its bag for and on Amazon, where it says it has been for years. The Amazon bag , and has risen to among camera bags and cases.
While similar in name and appearance, the purpose of the Peak Design video is to illustrate the differences that go into making both bags — and to mock Amazon Basics’ perceived process of discovering new ideas.
With the Amazon Basics bag, shoppers don’t have to pay for all sorts of “needless bells and whistles,” the video sarcastically states, such as years of development and research, recycled materials, a lifetime warranty, fairly paid factory workers and total carbon neutrality.
In a spoof showing what it calls “the crack team at the Amazon Basics Department,” two guys wearing googley-eye glasses — that they even — show the alleged process Amazon uses to discover and copy top-selling products. As they literally use tracing paper to draw over an image of the Everyday Sling bag, a sign taped to a wall behind the men reads “command c + command v = $$$.”
In the description for the , Peak Design says Amazon is one of its biggest partners, calling it a “revolutionary service” that Peak uses and benefits from heavily. The company also said it works closely with Amazon to remove counterfeit and copycat products from their marketplace.
“Hence, we were astonished when we found out Amazon had copied one of our bestselling bags,” the description reads. “It’s our goal to make the best things. If we tried to make the cheapest things, we wouldn’t be us. Amazon reminded us of that. We appreciate the pep talk, Amazon.”
that it believes Amazon has actually infringed on its intellectual property, but rather than take legal action now, it chose to make the video to highlight the differences between the products.
GeekWire reached out to Amazon for comment on Peak Design’s allegations and we’ll update this story when we hear back.
In the meantime, the Amazon Basics Camera Bag is clearly getting some attention, as reviews have been disabled because of “unusual reviewing activity,” according to an alert on the product page.
Reviews that are visible for the “padded sling-style bag” include some knocking Amazon for making a “low-quality knock-off” and “cheap attempt” at the Peak Design Everyday Sling.
The saga is similar to other complaints lobbed at Amazon, including one by sustainable sneaker maker Allbirds back in November 2019. The CEO and co-founder of that Silicon Valley startup for a “strikingly similar” wool sneaker product being sold on Amazon under the name Amazon 206 Collective.
Amazon has long said that it doesn’t use its advantage as the operator of a massive marketplace to compete with third-party sellers on the platform. But an found Amazon employees did use seller data when considering new private-label products.
Regulators and legislators in the U.S. and abroad have questioned Amazon’s potential conflict of interest as both a marketplace operator and first-party retailer. , European competition authorities accused the Seattle-based tech giant of “systematically relying on non-public business data of independent sellers” to its own benefit, leveraging its position as an online marketplace operator to compete unfairly with other retailers on its platform.