Toy Association’s Virtual Fly-In Connects Companies with DC Lawmakers
September 22, 2020 | Nearly 30 toy company representatives attended The Toy Association’s Virtual DC Fly-In last week, where they connected with 28 congressional offices and top federal officials to discuss key legislation addressing counterfeit toys and children’s products sold through online marketplaces.
"This year’s Fly-In, while formatted differently, resulted in multiple meetings with policymakers and government officials who clearly indicated their interest in our members’ perspectives and the importance of fighting fake toys," said Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. "Our members spoke about the real-world safety and business impact of counterfeit toys in productive conversations that will prove to be critical in encouraging action on important bills within the next year."
The event focused on three proposals seeking to combat counterfeit products sold through e-commerce sites by verifying the identity of third-party sellers, disclosing basic seller information to consumers on online product listings, and incentivizing platforms to engage in best practices: the SHOP SAFE Act, the INFORM Consumers Act, and the SANTA Act. Attendees had the opportunity to speak directly with U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Toy Caucus Co-Chair Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) in a Q&A-style format that further addressed the legislation. During the event, Senators Cassidy and Durbin were also presented with The Toy Association’s annual Champion of Play Awards for their contributions to fighting the hidden dangers of counterfeit toys sold online and their leadership in sponsoring the INFORM Consumers Act and the SANTA Act.
Participants were then divided into smaller dedicated groups to meet with congressional staff, which presented them with additional time to share their individual experiences and discuss the challenges and resources required in trying to police online marketplaces for counterfeits and knockoffs of their brands.
“Before joining The Toy Association, I felt my little company and voice would have no impact on what happens in government,” said Joann Cartiglia, president of doll manufacturer The Queen’s Treasures and Fly-In participant. “I have since learned that even a company like mine can have its voice heard and make an impact on what is happening in our country. I am so appreciative of the work The Toy Association does to advocate for children, toy companies, retailers, and consumers to ensure the integrity and safety of all toys sold in the U.S. and beyond our borders.”
The Toy Association continues to be vigilant in advocating for and protecting members’ businesses. Most recently, the Association joined the Buy Safe America coalition, a diverse group of association advocates and law enforcement officials supporting efforts at all levels of government to protect consumers from the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods. Throughout 2020, the team has also provided feedback on legislative and marketplace changes that could be made to reduce the prevalence of counterfeits.
Details about the 2021 DC Fly-In will be made available on The Toy Association website in the coming months. Members who would like to learn more or get involved with The Toy Association’s IP Committee can contact Ed Desmond for more information.