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Notorious Markets for IPR Infringing Goods Listed in Annual USTR Report

Friday, December 23, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released Dec. 21 the results of its Special 301 out-of-cycle review of notorious markets for 2016. This review identifies dozens of physical and online marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.

USTR states that following the release of the 2015 list last December some market owners and operators have made notable efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets. A number of markets have accelerated responses to infringement complaints, entered into licensing arrangements with right holders, developed technology to identify or prevent infringing uses of platforms, and/or engaged with right holders to develop cooperative procedures. Other markets have closed or experienced disruption as a result of enforcement efforts, including the shutdown of one of the most popular and lucrative illegal piracy sites in the world.

While some markets have thus been removed from the list this year, USTR continues to monitor these markets, which may be re-listed if there is a change in circumstances; e.g., if a website that ceased to operate as a result of enforcement or other action resumes its unauthorized activities or the corrective actions that merited removal prove inadequate or short-lived.

USTR notes that inclusion on the Notorious Markets List does not reflect a finding of a violation of law or the U.S. government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned, which is presented in the annual Special 301 report issued at the end of April. However, the U.S. does urge responsible authorities to investigate reports of piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets and pursue appropriate action against such markets and their owners and operators.

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