• ITVI.USA
    15,379.620
    -113.610
    -0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.786
    -0.021
    -0.7%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.500
    -0.060
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,349.750
    -127.770
    -0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,379.620
    -113.610
    -0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.786
    -0.021
    -0.7%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.500
    -0.060
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,349.750
    -127.770
    -0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
American Shipper

USTR releases 2017 Notorious Markets List

Despite efforts to eradicate hosting of IP-infringing products, Alibaba subsidiary Taobao remains a continuing focus.

   Taobao continues to be a focus of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Notorious Markets List, as the Chinese online marketplace in 2017 was the subject of more small and medium enterprise assistance requests to the U.S. government than any other e-commerce platform, according to the document.
   USTR on Friday released the 2017 edition of the annual list, which is published to increase public awareness and help markets and governments prioritize intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement efforts that protect U.S. businesses and workers.
   While Taobao’s parent company, Alibaba, has undertaken recent efforts to stop the offer and sale of infringing products on Taobao.com, and some rights holders report an “improved outlook,” the prevalence of infringing listings and sales is still a challenge, and Alibaba must take additional steps to address ongoing concerns, USTR said.
   Despite USTR’s call in last year’s list for Taobao to expand its “Good Faith Takedown Program,” there are still reports of the mechanism being “burdensome and inefficient” to end the sale of counterfeit products.
   Two U.S. trade associations have reported better dialog and “some improvements” in Taobao online enforcement, but relatively high numbers of counterfeits continue to challenge several U.S. brands, USTR said.
   For its part, Alibaba said it closed more than 230,000 Taobao vendors for selling IPR-infringing goods over a recent one-year period, decreased vendor takedown times on the Taobao family of marketplaces, and boosted “proactive takedown efforts” on Taobao, USTR said.
   While Alibaba has made several commendatory efforts to address concerns outlined in the 2016 list, unresolved concerns remain, USTR said.
   For instance, Alibaba hasn’t identified metrics to objectively assess the scale of infringing products sold on Taobao or objectively demonstrated that the volume or prevalence of counterfeits has dropped over the last year, USTR said.
   “The data provided by Alibaba to date do not directly reflect the scope and status of the counterfeiting problem on the Taobao.com platform, but instead is merely suggestive of progress made,” USTR said. “For example, a decline in the number of takedown requests, while perhaps indicative of a positive trend across platforms, does not speak to the overall scope of the problem on Taobao.com.”
   As with previous lists, USTR listed several physical marketplaces in addition to online markets.
   Argentina and Thailand “significantly stepped up” IP enforcement in physical marketplaces and used “novel approaches” to sustain their efforts, USTR said.
   Almost half of 2,000 illegal street vendors evicted from Buenos Aires’ Once neighborhood in January 2017 are now legally operating at two new locations in Buenos Aires, after the Argentine government relocated the vendors to nearby commercial facilities, gave them a stipend, and two-month business training course organized by the Argentine Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
   The Thai government, at the direction of the prime minister, has focused enforcement efforts on 13 previously listed notorious markets and other markets across the country, USTR said.
   In addition, USTR said that from January to September, Thai authorities conducted more than 700 raids and seized almost 150,000 infringing items; and established on-site IP enforcement centers in five high-priority shopping areas to improve timely responses to complaints, enforcement visibility, enforcement agency coordination, and cooperation with rights holders.
   In addition to Taobao, USTR listed online markets, including:
     • French website 1fichier.com, which allegedly makes available illegal video game copies and other copyrighted content;
     • DHGate.com, a Chinese business-to-business ecommerce platform enabling small and medium-sized Chinese businesses to sell over 33 million product listings to overseas customers;
     • And Russia-hosted RapidGator.net, which provides allegedly infringing book publishing, movie, and musical content to people outside the country.
   Release of the report garnered praise from groups including the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), which filed comments Oct. 2, to inform USTR’s notorious markets review.
   “If you are standing still in the fight against counterfeits, you are moving backwards,” AAFA CEO Rick Helfenbein said in a statement. “Therefore, it is essential that governments, law enforcement authorities, and brands collaborate to stem the flow of counterfeit merchandise. This report is an essential part of the process to protect intellectual property rights and innovation.”

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