Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, a European Commission Staff Working Document
Like the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) (see iptwins.com, Nov. 22, 2018 ; iptwins.com, Nov. 20, 2018 ; iptwins Nov. 16, 2018 ; iptwins .com, Nov. 15, 2018 ; iptwins.com, Oct. 19, 2018), the European Commission has built a list of online and physical counterfeit sites (Commission Staff Working Document, Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, SWD (2018) 492, 7.12.2018).
This document is part of a series of numerous recent works by the EU institutions in the fight against counterfeiting. The frequency and intensity of these studies reflect the importance of intellectual property rights for the institutions of the European Union.
The Commission is resolutely focused on infringements of copyright. In this regard, it refers to a very large number of Internet sites and applications facilitating copyright infringement. However, the scope of the Commission’s document is much wider since it also targets marketplaces that favor the distribution of counterfeit goods that infringe not only on copyright but also trademark and design rights. On this occasion, the European Commission refers to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/334 of 1 March 2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online. One of the leitmotifs of this recommendation is the promptness that can be expected of providers. There is also a need for proactive measures, cooperation with authorities and rightholders, and the existence of clear and effective notification procedures. Considering the testimonies received by rightholders, the Commission has decided to include the following platforms on its list of sites to be monitored (pp. 23-26):
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The Commission recognizes the efforts of some platforms in the fight against counterfeiting. It agrees that the measures satisfying the Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/334 of 1 March 2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online in a satisfactory manner may not be sufficient to eradicate counterfeiting. This leads the Commission to advocate enhanced vigilance and cooperation (pp. 25-26).
The European Commission recalls the importance of the stakes in the pharmaceutical sector, both economically and in terms of public health. According to the World Health Organization, more than 50% of medicines sold online are counterfeit. IP Twins regularly echoes news about counterfeiting in the health sector.
The Commission reports that illicit pharmacies offering or facilitating the supply of counterfeit medicines have a relatively sophisticated organization: call centers; distribution system; increased visibility by search engine optimization and spamming; Inactive websites designed and maintained as alternative sites in case of closure, etc. The Commission has been informed that the following sites offer medicines considered as counterfeit:
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Commission endorses Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, ASOP Global, which regularly —including recently (iptwins.com, 20 Nov. 2018)— condemns registrars who refuse to suspend, block or delete domain names used to designate illicit pharmacies. As a result, the Commission has decided to add to its watch list the following registrars:
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This list complements that of ASOP Global.
The European Commission selected the following list of physical markets:
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This list is not as comprehensive as that proposed by the Union of Manufacturers (UNIFAB) for the US Department of Commerce (iptwins.com, Nov. 22, 2018). Nevertheless, there are many concordances.
About IP Twins
IP Twins is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar with 15 years of experience in domain name strategy and management. We represent trademark holders in UDRP proceedings.
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