2012 USTR Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets

Trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy on a commercial scale continue to thrive around the world in part because of the presence of marketplaces that deal in goods and services that infringe intellectual property rights (IPR). The Notorious Markets List identifies selected markets, including ones on the Internet, that are reportedly engaged in substantial piracy and counterfeiting, according to information submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). These are marketplaces that have been the subject of enforcement actions or that may merit further investigation for possible IPR infringements. These markets have been selected for inclusion both because they exemplify wider concerns about global trademark counterfeiting and/or copyright piracy, and because their scale and popularity can cause economic harm to U.S. and other IPR rights holders. In addition, products sold at some of these markets could pose health and safety risks to consumers, and there is a risk that listed websites may not adequately respect consumers’ privacy and security.

USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006. In 2010, USTR announced that it would begin publishing the Notorious Market List as an “Out of Cycle Review” separately from the annual Special 301 Report. USTR published the first such list in February 2011, and the second in December 2011. The present list is the result of the third Out-of-Cycle review of notorious markets. USTR initiated the review on August 14, 2012 through publication in the Federal Register of a request for comments from the public.

The Notorious Markets List does not purport to reflect findings of legal violations, nor does it reflect the United States Government’s analysis of the general climate of IPR protection and enforcement of in the countries concerned. A broader analysis of IPR protection and enforcement is presented in the annual Special 301 Report, published at the end of April each year.

In an effort to further assist U.S. rights holders to enforce their intellectual property online, the U.S. Government has expanded the business tools on STOPfakes.gov, an interagency website, to include information on infringement reporting mechanisms at a number of popular online retailers and marketplaces, including Alibaba and Taobao.