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For the second year running, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has included foreign domains owned and operated by Amazon.com, Inc., in its submission for the 2019 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. Managed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the report identifies foreign physical and online marketplaces that purportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. AAFA also encouraged USTR to expand future reports to include domestic marketplaces.
AAFA identified 130 physical marketplaces and eight online marketplaces that member companies identified as engaging in and facilitating substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. With regards to online marketplaces, AAFA specifically highlighted amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), amazon.ca (Canada), and amazon.de (Germany) for the second year in a row, and added amazon.fr (France) and amazon.in (India) for the first time.
“The USTR Notorious Markets report has proven to be a valuable tool in the fight against the sale of counterfeit products,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Not only have previous versions of this report shined a light on marketplaces that are not doing enough to protect consumers, but they have also led to dramatic and continuous improvement by companies that had not prioritized intellectual property protection in the past.
“Despite its role as a leader in the worldwide retail landscape, and as an important selling partner for many of our member brands, Amazon continues to present significant counterfeit challenges. Thus, we felt it was necessary to again ask USTR to list Amazon. While we are happy to have seen increased engagement with Amazon on brand protection issues during the past year, that engagement regrettably has not translated into a discernible decrease in counterfeits of our members’ products on Amazon’s marketplaces. We hope that Amazon will be able to dramatically expand their collaboration with our industry, significantly ramping up the commitment, resources, actions, and leadership necessary to resolve this problem.
“Further, we feel that it is time for USTR to expand the report to include domestic marketplaces. Counterfeits hurt our member brands and consumers when sold domestically, just as much as when they are sold overseas. In recent years domestic sales of counterfeit product has become a bigger problem within the U.S., and we hope USTR will consider expanding the scope of this valuable report.
“Counterfeits affect more than just lost sales and brand reputation, they also expose consumers to a range of product safety issues. It is essential that worldwide marketplaces take these concerns seriously, and implement effective countermeasures to protect consumers and their families.”
AAFA’s full submission can be found here.