Peak Design, a maker of fine bags and accessories, has a problem: Amazon seems to have copied its popular bag, the $ 99.95 Everyday Sling, with its own $ 32.99 Amazon Basics Camera Bag. It was even called Everyday Sling until the Peak Designs video. Instead of doing something drastic, however, Peak Design decided to make a video about what customers “win” by buying the Amazon version.
The video presents Peaks case clearly: the bags are similarly shaped with pockets, labels and straps in exactly the same places. As someone unfamiliar with Peak Design bags, if I did not pay attention or did not read “Peak Design”
Peak presents all of this humorously, but the evidence is surprisingly obvious, making Amazon’s apparent decision to change its Amazon Basics version from “Everyday Sling” to “Amazon Basics Camera Bag” all the more suspicious. There is even evidence: “Everyday sling” is still in the URL of the “Camera Bag.”
Peak Design is not the first small company to try to stand up to Amazon. When the Allbirds discovered that Amazon was selling what looked like a pretty obvious Allbirds clone, the company’s CEO wrote a Medium post in which he criticized Amazon, even though he claimed he was “flattered” by the similarities between the shoes. Amazon copying has not stopped there. The company has also been accused of cloning luggage compartments for cars and seat cushions.
The whole trend has only helped to draw attention to a potential antitrust problem that has long been of concern to the company’s critics as well as legislators and regulators. The basic problem: Amazon owns and operates its e-commerce platform and also runs an ever-growing list of internal brands competing against Amazon’s own third-party Marketplace sellers on the same platform.
In theory, emphasizing competition is as simple as seeing what sells well, creating a similar, cheaper product, and then proposing it to Amazon customers. In fact, this very situation is at the heart of an EU investigation into the company’s activities, which resulted in the European Commission accusing Amazon of “systematically” using vendor data to unfairly compete with its own merchants in France and Germany last November.
Amazon says it has a policy in place to prevent third-party vendor data from being used for products, but reports from Wall Street Journal suggests that it has still happened. As Vice notes that even former CEO Jeff Bezos was unable to confirm whether the policy had been broken during the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into Amazon’s monopoly status.
In the case of Peak Designs, the company said in a statement to The edge it believes that Amazon has actually infringed its intellectual property rights, but it chose to make the video to highlight the differences between the products and has no plans to take legal action now.
Reviews are currently disabled on Amazon’s bag because the company noticed “unusual review activity.” Looking at some of the latest reviews, several of the lowest ratings have been left by customers who directly refer to Peak Design’s video. Taken with Amazon’s decision to change the product name, it appears that Peak Design has hit a cord.
The edge contacted Amazon about Peak Design’s requirements and we will update if we receive a response.