The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has blacklisted Indian online e-commerce marketplace IndiaMart, placing it on the annual ‘American Notorious Markets List’, for selling counterfeits products.
The U.S. government agency is responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the President of the country.
The USTR released the list on Friday, highlighting 25 other online markets and 18 physical markets around the world that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.
Acknowledging the market of IndiaMart, which has 1.5 million suppliers and more than 10 million buyers, the report stated that the Indian e-commerce marketplace allegedly facilitates global trade in counterfeit and illegal pharmaceuticals. The marketplace disclaims all liability, delays responses and does not facilitate right holder attempts to remove listings.
“In contrast, other online marketplaces have instituted good practices such as robust screening systems to limit listings for counterfeit or illegal pharmaceuticals and providing a straightforward process for removing infringing listings. The domain name registrar that services IndiaMart, Hosting Concepts B.V., has a general top-level domain market share of 3,04,131 domains, of which 2,530 are allegedly rogue internet pharmacies,” stated the report.
Delhi’s wholesale market Tank Road is another market (offline) from India which makes to the U.S. government agency list.
Besides, the other famous online marketplace found on the list was Alibaba’s Taobao.
This is the second year in a row when the Chinese e-commerce platform has been put on the blacklist by the USTR.
Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce marketplace and its third-most popular website, stayed off the list from 2012 to 2015, but was included in 2016 and now again in 2017.
“A high volume of infringing products reportedly continue to be offered for sale and sold on Taobao.com and stakeholders continue to report challenges and burdens associated with IP enforcement on the platform. In particular, SMEs continue to have problems accessing and utilizing takedown procedures on Taobao.com. In 2017, more SMEs have requested assistance from U.S. government agencies and embassies regarding Taobao.com than any other e-commerce platform,” stated the report.
However, in its submission, Alibaba asserted that it closed more than 230,000 Taobao.com vendors for selling IP infringing goods over a recent one-year period, decreased takedown process times on the Taobao family of marketplaces (including Taobao.com, TMall and TMall Global), and that it increased proactive takedown efforts on Taobao.com.
Industry experts say though the inclusion of IndiaMart, Taobao and others do not carry any direct penalties, it is a blow to the efforts of these companies to shed perceptions that its sites are riddled with fakes and that its anti-piracy policies are inadequate.