Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 25): Amazon Adjusts Seller Fees, Temu Expands Globally

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 25): Amazon Adjusts Seller Fees, Temu Expands Globally

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US News

1. UMBRA LLC’s Drain Cover Patent Dispute: UMBRA LLC, a creator of modern home accessories, has initiated a patent infringement lawsuit regarding its Drain Cover, a product designed to efficiently combine drainage with hair-catching capabilities. Filed in the Western District Court of New York by Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC, the case highlights the product’s unique, durable silicone design that’s both stylish and functional. The patent, US 10,273,671 B2, granted on April 30, 2019, underscores UMBRA’s commitment to innovation. This legal action has impacted sellers on Temu, leading to withdrawal restrictions due to a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

2. Lululemon’s Trademark Enforcement: Renowned athletic fashion brand Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc. has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit to protect its brand integrity against counterfeit products. The lawsuit, lodged on March 12, 2024, in the Northern District Court of Illinois by GBC law firm, focuses on safeguarding Lululemon’s trademarks and distinctive stripe designs, emphasizing the brand’s pursuit of excellence in combining comfort, functionality, and style.

3. Screaming Chicken Toy’s Popularity and Patent: Amid increasing demand for stress-relief toys, the Screaming Chicken toy has gained popularity for its simple yet effective design. A recent patent, US D1,017,730 S, awarded to a Chinese national on March 12, 2024, highlights the toy’s appeal as both a stress-reliever and a novelty item for children, adults, and pets alike, showcasing its success on platforms like Amazon.

4. Shelf Bracket Patent Litigation by Yu Luo: Addressing the need for home organization, Yu Luo has taken legal steps against patent infringement of a shelf bracket design, enhancing storage flexibility. With lawsuits filed on March 8, 2024, in the Northern District Court of Illinois by Dewitty And Associates, Chtd., the patent, US D1,012,683 S, granted on January 30, 2024, reflects the ongoing efforts to protect innovative designs in the e-commerce space, urging sellers to remain vigilant against potential legal risks.

Starbucks Metal Mug Recall by CPSC

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled Starbucks 2023 holiday gift set metal mugs due to burn and tear risks. The recall affects four Starbucks gift sets containing 11-ounce and 16-ounce metal-coated mugs with the Starbucks logo, sold between November 2023 and January 2024 at Target, Walmart, and Nexcom stores. Following 12 incidents of the mugs overheating or shattering, resulting in 10 injuries, consumers are urged to stop using the mugs and contact Nestlé USA for a full refund without needing proof of purchase.

USPS Reports Fiscal Year 2023 Financials

The United States Postal Service (USPS) disclosed a net loss of $6.5 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, with total revenue slightly down by 0.4% to $78.2 billion, primarily due to inflation. Despite a 1% increase in shipping and package revenue, marketing mail revenue decreased significantly. The USPS is undergoing a major transformation, introducing new products like USPS Ground Advantage and facing financial challenges due to rising operational costs. CFO Joseph Corbett emphasized efforts to increase package revenue and manage costs within controllable limits.

Global News

Amazon India Announces Fee Structure Adjustment

Starting April 7, Amazon India will align its seller fee structure with industry standards, adjusting fees by an average of 10-30%. This revision, influenced by macroeconomic factors like inflation, interest rates, and operational costs, will modify commissions, settlement fees, shipping, and packaging costs, excluding the 18% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Categories such as apparel, bedding, and tableware will see reduced commissions, while those for business supplies, laptop sleeves, and tires will increase. For instance, home decor products will see fees rise from 9% to 13.5%, luxury beauty products from 5% to up to 10%, pajamas from 11-15% to 13.5-19%, and musical instruments from 7.5% to 10.5%. Conversely, fees for inverters, batteries, and baby clothing will see significant reductions.

Amazon Fined by France’s CNIL

Amazon has been fined €32 million by France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) for excessively monitoring its employees’ activities in French warehouses. The system tracked workers’ performance, including equipment usage speed and break times, deemed overly intrusive by CNIL. Amazon disputes CNIL’s findings, asserting the system’s compliance with industry standards for safety and efficiency. The company has appealed to the French Council of State, with CNIL yet to comment on the appeal.

Amazon Business Supports UK SMEs

Amazon Business has introduced a “Preferred Small Business” feature in the UK to boost local SMEs, which represent a significant portion of employment and private sector turnover. This initiative comes as UK business customers’ purchases from small and medium-sized sellers increased by 60% over the past year. The feature aims to facilitate targeted purchases from businesses with fewer than 250 employees and less than €50 million in revenue, offering SMEs greater exposure to multinational companies and diversifying procurement for corporate customers.

Temu’s Strategic Global Expansion

Cross-border e-commerce platform Temu has launched new sites in Georgia, Mauritius, and Malta, following a strategy to reduce reliance on the US market. This expansion is part of Temu’s plan to decrease its US market sales from 60% to 30% by 2025, accelerating growth in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, and South Korea. With these new sites, Temu continues its low-price promotion strategy, offering free shipping and significant discounts, marking its presence in 53 global markets across various regions.

European DIY Market Report

A cross-border commerce platform has released a report on the European DIY market, valuing it at €368 billion in 2023, with 15.2% of sales coming from e-commerce. Despite the overall market stagnation due to economic downturns and inflation, the online DIY market is expected to grow to €66 billion by 2025, increasing its market share to 17%. The report suggests that the rising market share of online sellers will pressure traditional DIY retailers to prioritize cross-border e-commerce development.

Allegro Launches in Slovakia

Polish online marketplace Allegro has expanded into Slovakia, marking its second European venture following its entry into the Czech Republic. With plans to extend into other European countries, Allegro aims to solidify its presence in Central and Eastern Europe. The company, which reported significant revenue growth in Poland, anticipates a warm reception in Slovakia due to high brand awareness. This expansion is part of Allegro’s strategy to become a leading player in the European e-commerce landscape, with further launches in Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia on the horizon

AI News

Startup Raises $80M to Simplify Access to AI Cloud Services

Former Google DeepMind scientists have initiated Foundry, a novel cloud platform designed to democratize access to computing power for AI training. With an $80 million investment from Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, Foundry aims to enhance its product offerings and establish strategic partnerships. Located in Palo Alto, California, Foundry has acquired advanced Nvidia hardware to facilitate AI model training and execution. The platform’s mission is to make AI compute access as straightforward as turning on a light, challenging the dominance of major cloud providers.

Tennessee Enacts ELVIS Act to Protect Artist Voices from AI Misuse

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed the ELVIS Act, a pioneering legislation aimed at safeguarding artists from unauthorized AI exploitation of their voices. This act extends existing publicity rights to include voice protection, reflecting Tennessee’s commitment to its musical heritage. The legislation responds to concerns over AI-generated deepfake music and aims to protect iconic voices in the music industry from misuse. The move has garnered support from music industry groups and is seen as a critical step in preserving the rights and individuality of artists in the age of AI.

Distillery in Scotland Utilizes AI for Limited Edition Whisky Creation

Diageo, a leading alcohol beverage company, has embarked on a $230 million investment in whisky tourism projects, dedicating over $44 million to explore whisky maturation through SmokeDNAi technology. This innovative approach has been applied to analyze the flavor profiles and mouthfeel of the Port Ellen Gemini, a pair of rare whiskies distilled in different casks, each priced at $50,000.

The technology aims to deepen the understanding of whisky aging processes, leveraging data to enhance production, flavor, and sales of whisky and new blends. The reopening of Port Ellen distillery in Scotland, after 40 years, marks a significant step in integrating modern technology with traditional whisky-making. SmokeDNAi not only deciphers the complex chemistry of whisky aging but also translates these findings into visual representations, making the intricate details of whisky flavors and aromas accessible to enthusiasts.

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