News Release – ASOP Global Responds to the U.S. Trade Representative 2016
Out-Of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets Report
WASHINGTON D.C. (December 27, 2016) — The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2016 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets report on December 21. Commercial-scale trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy cause significant financial losses for right holders and legitimate businesses, undermine critical U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity to the detriment of American workers, and can pose significant risks to consumer health and safety.
The Notorious Markets List (“List”) highlights prominent online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. A goal of the List is to motivate appropriate action by owners and operators in the private sector, as well as governments, to reduce piracy and counterfeiting.
USTR developed the List under the auspices of the annual Special 301 process. USTR solicited comments regarding potential markets to highlight in this year’s List – based upon publically available information – through a Request for Public Comments published in the Federal Register on August 25, 2016. The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) submitted comments for this report on October 12, 2016 (confirmation of ASOP Global’s submission can be found here)
USTR highlights these markets not only because they exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns, but also because the scale of infringing activity in such markets can cause significant economic harm to U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) holders.
Some of the identified markets reportedly host a combination of legitimate and unauthorized activities. Others reportedly exist solely to engage in or facilitate unauthorized activity. The List is not an exhaustive account of all physical and online markets worldwide in which IPR infringement may take place. USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006. In 2010, USTR announced that it would begin publishing the List separately from the annual Special 301 Report, pursuant to an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR).
USTR first separately published the List in February 2011. The present List is the result of the 2016 OCR of Notorious Markets. The List does not make findings of legal violations. It also does not reflect the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the countries connected with the listed markets. A broader analysis of IPR protection and enforcement in particular countries or economies is presented in the annual Special 301 Report published on or around April 30 of each year.
The List includes several previously-identified markets because our previously-stated concerns with those particular markets have not been addressed. Likewise, the List also notes the successes of past reports, including many previously-cited organizations that have undertaken voluntary measures to address the issues of intellectual property right infringement.
Included in the List is Nanjing Imperiosus Technology Co., which also operates as DomainersChoice.com, due to the disproportionate amount of services offered to illegal online drug sellers.
“As noted in our comments, Nanjing Imperiosus is one of the more substantial registrars that host illegal online pharmacy websites, estimated over 2,300 sites,” said ASOP Global’s Executive Director, Libby Baney.
“Furthermore, it is noted that approximately half of all illegal online pharmacy websites can be found within the seven registrars included in ASOP Global’s comments,” she added. “We are pleased to see Nanjing Imperiosus included in the 2016 List, shedding light on the growing issue of illegal online drug sellers.
“ASOP Global looks forward to continued collaboration with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in combatting the issue of counterfeit medications online and to support these efforts during the next Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.”