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Notorious Markets for IPR Infringing Goods Listed in Annual USTR Report

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has released the results of its Special 301 out-of-cycle review of notorious markets for 2018. This review identifies 33 online markets and 25 physical markets around the world that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. USTR notes that this list does not reflect findings of legal violations or the U.S. government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned.

According to USTR, this year’s report highlights free trade zones and the role they may play in facilitating trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. It also continues to discuss emerging piracy models, including illicit streaming devices, “stream-ripping,” and piracy portals and apps, that cause major damage to the digital marketplace for legitimate music, movies, and television. The list also calls on several e-commerce platforms to improve takedown procedures and cooperation with right holders, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to decrease the volume and prevalence of counterfeit and pirated goods on their platforms.

The report finds that there have been some positive developments over the past year. Some online markets (including in Vietnam, Ukraine, and Peru) have been the subject of successful enforcement efforts and there have been continued actions to combat the online sale of counterfeit medicines. Several countries have significantly stepped up enforcement with respect to physical marketplaces as well, including Argentina, Canada, France, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

USTR notes that some previously identified markets may not appear on this year’s list for a variety of reasons, including that the market has closed or its popularity or significance has diminished, enforcement or voluntary action has reduced or eliminated the prevalence of infringing goods or services, market owners or operators are cooperating with right holders or government authorities to address infringement, or the market is no longer a noteworthy example of its kind.

For more information on IPR-related trade issues, please contact trade attorney Emi Ortiz at (305) 894-1005.

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