2018 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets: Online Marketplaces
The B2C and B2B platforms known for their difficulties or their unwillingness to fight counterfeiting appear each year in a document prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) entitled “2018 Out- of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” (ustr.gov). Each edition is an opportunity to recall the consequences of counterfeiting on safety and health, employment, the economy and the environment. The USTR collects complaints from intellectual property rights holders. For the year 2018, the following companies and associations, among others, responded to the request for comments: Chanel (iptwins.com, 2018-11-16), Maus Frères (iptwins.com, 2018-11-15), the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) (iptwins.com, 2018-10-18), the Union des Fabricants (Unifab) (iptwins.com, 2018-11-22), and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) (iptwins.com, 2018-11-20). The testimonies collected are the subject of a summary published for the purpose of putting the bad actors in the pillory:
The USTR does not systematically retain all market platforms suggested by rights holders. By way of illustration, Mercadolibre, Weidian.com, JF, Gumtree, Naver and Leboincoin, designated in particular by Unifab and/or Chanel, do not appear in the 2018 USTR report.
The reasons given against these platforms are the following (alternatively or cumulatively):
- counterfeit volumes;
- lack of reactivity (a five-day delay to delete a listing is considered to be much too long);
- lack of cooperation;
- the immoderate requirements for the demonstration of the existence and validity of intellectual property rights;
- the lax conditions of registration as a seller;
- the refusal to provide the necessary information to identify counterfeiters;
- the absence of a system for detecting repeat offenders;
- the limited means at the disposal of rightholders to put an end to the violation of these rights;
- the difference in treatment between rights holders, international companies being favored, while none or litte action is taken for and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The USTR considers that it is not intended to integrate US companies in this infamous inventory. However, owners of intellectual property rights, lucid vis-à-vis this form of nepotism, do not hesitate to designate American companies in their grievances. Amazon, eBay, iOffer, Facebook, Instagram, Bonanza.com, Google Shopping and Wanelo.com have been mentions in responses to the 2018 request for comments. In addition, some of them (Amazon and eBay) appear in the list chosen by the European Commission which (iptwins.com, 2018-12-16), which should be taken into account.