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Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today issued the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. It identifies more than 30 markets that typify the problem of marketplaces that deal in goods and services that infringe on intellectual property rights (IPR) and help to sustain global piracy and counterfeiting. The results identify examples of both Internet and physical marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement action connected with counterfeiting and piracy, or that may merit further investigation for possible IPR infringements. Today’s announcement concludes the review process launched on September 22, 2011. The list can be viewed here.
“Piracy and counterfeiting continue to present a serious challenge to the innovation and creativity that is essential to supporting American jobs and creating economic growth around the world. The notorious markets highlighted in this review negatively impact legitimate businesses and industries of all sizes that rely on intellectual property to protect their goods and services,” said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “We hope that this review will continue to yield the kind of concrete action from highlighted markets that led to the removal of several markets from the list this year.”
The Notorious Markets Review identifies markets in each category that are particularly prominent examples of where infringing goods and services are sold. It does not constitute an exhaustive list of all notorious markets around the world. Inclusion in the Notorious Markets List does not reflect a finding of a violation of law or the United States Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned; such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April. However, the United States urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate.
This year’s list also highlights positive developments since the issuance of the previous Notorious Markets List in February of 2011. For example, USTR applauds Chinese site Baidu, one of the world’s most visited sites and previously identified as an example of a site linking to infringing content, for entering into a licensing agreement with U.S. and other rights holders in the recording industry. In addition, Hong Kong customs officials took action to remove allegedly infringing goods from the premises of the Ladies Market. Also, management at the Savelovskiy Market in Russia implemented a plan to stop the distribution of infringing goods.
Several markets have been identified for the availability of pirated and counterfeit goods and services through their premises or networks. The markets listed include, for example, the Chinese website Taobao, a site offering a variety of infringing products to consumers and businesses that, while continuing its significant efforts to address the problem, reportedly also continues to offer infringing products. The Notorious Markets List also indentifies specific activities such as blogs or online forums offering links to infringing content online, or key physical markets such as PC Malls in China.
USTR and other agencies of the U.S. government are actively engaged with U.S. trading partners to seek appropriate action against counterfeiting and piracy, including counterfeiting and piracy related to markets identified in this report. For example, USTR recently requested public comments on Paraguay’s implementation of the U.S.-Paraguay Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property Rights, which includes provisions to address adequate and effective protection and enforcement of IPR at the markets in Ciudad del Este, reportedly one of the region’s most notorious markets for counterfeit and pirated products.
USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006. In 2010, USTR announced that it would begin to publish the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report, in order to increase public awareness and guide related trade enforcement actions. USTR published the first stand-alone Notorious Markets List in February 2011, as an “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.”
The Special 301 Subcommittee received and reviewed written submissions from the public concerning potential examples of Internet and physical notorious markets. The Notorious Markets List released today is the result of this effort. Public submissions may be viewed online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number USTR-2011-0012.
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