US government removes Taobao from Notorious Markets list


The US government has published its annual Notorious Markets list and removed Chinese retail website Taobao from last year’s report.

Taobao was commended for its “notable efforts” in tackling IP infringement, according to the report. The government included Taobao on last year’s list for the “widespread availability of counterfeit and pirated goods”.

The US Trade Representative (USTR), which identifies both physical and online markets allegedly involved in “substantial” counterfeiting and piracy, advised Taobao how to stay off next year’s list:

“We urge Taobao to further streamline procedures for submitting and responding to notifications to decrease the time required for taking down listings of counterfeit and pirated goods.”

The decision to remove Taobao, which has about 370 million users, follows a “clever corporate strategy” employed by the site over the past two years, according to Edward Chatterton, partner at DLA Piper in Hong Kong.

“Taobao has certainly made significant strides in making it quicker and easier to have counterfeit products removed from its listings. It removed 14 million suspected counterfeit products in 2010 and 63 million in 2011. Taobao has also pursued a successful lobbying campaign with the US government, retaining Washington lobbyists to argue its case and hiring the ex-general counsel of the USTR.”

He added: “Nevertheless, there is no getting away from the fact that Taobao continues to be a huge market for counterfeit products. Many of my clients also remain frustrated by how long it takes for counterfeit products to be removed after notifying Taobao.”

The US government has also removed Chinese search engine Sogou for assisting rights owners and removing infringing content from its site. Five other sites—Megaupload, btjunkie, Demonoid, and Consolesource—have been struck off this year’s list, following law enforcement action.

This article was first published on 19 December 2012 in World IP Review

USTR, Taobao, Notorious Markets, dla piper

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