Following the example of the annual US Notorious Markets List, the European Commission recently announced that it will also be publishing an annual list to name and shame platforms and websites that facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.
The Commission plans to publish an annual Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List to identify marketplaces outside the EU on which large-scale intellectual property abuse takes place. Pointer Brand Protection is excited to announce that we will also be participating in the consultation round for the first list.
What exactly has the US Notorious Markets List achieved, and what can we expect from the EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List when it comes to combating IP abuse?
The US Notorious Markets List
The US Notorious Markets List identifies selected markets that exemplify the issue of marketplaces dealing in infringing goods and helping to sustain global piracy and counterfeiting. In 2017 25 online markets and 18 physical markets were found engaging in substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.
Moreover, the report calls for e-commerce platforms to improve their takedown procedures, proactive measures, and cooperation with right holders to decrease the amount and presence of counterfeit and pirated goods on their platforms.
The EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List
In January 2018, the European Commission announced that it will launch its own annual EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List to identify online and physical marketplaces outside the EU where IP abuse takes place.
The commission stated that this watch-list will help in raising awareness of consumers who are considering buying products in those marketplaces. Moreover, it will encourage marketplace operators and owners to take a more serious stance towards IP abuse.
Input from stakeholders will be used to compile the list, and the commission has called for detailed submissions and supporting documents.
The following information is requested for each marketplace:
- Popularity and reach of the identified marketplace.
- Estimated number and scale of counterfeits and pirated goods offered.
- Main categories of the infringing goods and the most affected European right holders.
- Estimated economic harm to legitimate right holders.
- Potential risks and any known evidence of damage to public health, safety and the environment.
- Any known enforcement activity against the marketplace and its outcome.
- Measures taken by the marketplace owner or operator to reduce, prevent or address counterfeiting and piracy, as well as the effectiveness of these policies.
Alongside the watch list, the EU executive will monitor measures taken by local authorities to reduce the availability of goods and services infringing IP rights in those identified markets.
The watch list will help to raise awareness with consumers and encourage marketplace operators and owners to crack down on IP abuse.
Intellectual Property Abuse
Pointer Brand Protection is committed to advising you on how you can best protect your brand against intellectual property abuse. Their mission is to protect brands and consumers from counterfeits and trademark and copyright infringements.
Pointer Brand Protection believes that the EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List is a great initiative that will create awareness and put political pressure on the most infringing platforms.
The concept of naming and shaming marketplaces on a list is an excellent idea to help combat IP abuse. Pointer BP will definitely be participating in the consultation round for the first list.
What can we expect from the EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List in the future? If we look at the US Notorious Market List, which was extremely successful in the US, we can expect similar results for the EU.
For example, when the hugely popular Taobao Marketplace was put on the US Notorious Market List, Alibaba, the company that owns Taobao, substantially attempted to improve the situation on its platform by taking a strong stance against counterfeiting. Being put on the EU Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List will force platforms to step up and be more vigilant and strict towards IP abuse.
Furthermore, we can expect guidelines for a uniform notice and takedown procedure for online intermediaries, something the European Commission is working on right now. At Pointer BP we will certainly keep a close eye on what happens next.