US government criticises domain registrars over ‘IP infringement’


The US government has for the first time listed domain name registrars in its report on markets that are “notorious” for intellectual property infringement.

In its annual Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, released last week, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) highlighted some domain name registrars as “playing a role” in supporting counterfeiting and piracy.

In a section called “New issue focus: domain name registrars”, the USTR’s office said: “These entities reportedly refuse to abide by the rules that are designed to foster legitimate activity on the internet, and instead help to create an atmosphere of lawlessness that adversely affects others.

“Registrars can play a critical public safety role in the internet ecosystem. Ignoring that role, or acting affirmatively to facilitate public harm, is of great concern,” it added.

The office gave Canada-based as an example.

“Tucows is reportedly an example of a registrar that fails to take action when notified of its clients’ infringing activity,” the USTR’s office said.

The ‘notorious markets’ review is a rundown of markets, both online and physical, which allegedly facilitate “substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting” that harm US businesses.

In a statement, the USTR Michael Froman said innovation “fuels” the US economy. 

“The theft we’re shining a light on is detrimental not only to creators and inventors, but also to consumers, who may be deceived and even endangered by notorious markets engaging in counterfeiting and piracy,” he added, following the latest report’s publication.

Tucows did not respond to a request for comment.

USTR, domain names, counterfeiting, trademarks, notorious markets list,, US Trade Representative

Trademarks and Brands Online