Industry News

USTR Releases Report on Notorious Markets

March 6, 2015

    The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a report on March 5, 2015 listing the websites and markets from the previous year that participated in the most piracy and counterfeiting activities and caused harm to U.S. intellectual property rights holders.  The report, entitled “2014 Out-of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” listed the top websites that impact the markets and described their niche area of infringement.  The goal of the report is to “motivate appropriate action on the part of owners and operators in the private sector as well as governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting.”  

    When available, USTR discussed any legal action taken against the websites and provided any changes from the 2013 report.  Following the digital markets, USTR listed physical black markets by country.  China was named as the “primary source of counterfeit products.”  Argentina, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, and Uruguay were all listed as host countries for major counterfeiting markets, many times due to lack of enforcement.

    In addition to the list of websites and physical markets, USTR discussed the positive changes since the last list from 2013.  USTR stated that “some market owners and operators have made notable efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets.”  Some websites participated willingly to fight infringement and there were also several policy changes that have benefited the rights holders.  For instance, the Government of France published a report entitled, “Operational Tools to Prevent and Combat Online Infringement.”  However, a new issue has arisen in this field.  Domain name registrars, which sell and manage domain names, are not cooperating with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) requirements.  According to ICANN, the domain name registrars must “take action when notified of illicit activity occurring on a website whose domain name they have registered.” 

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