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U.S. OKs Chinese Marketplaces

It has removed two Chinese-run online marketplaces from its “Notorious Markets List.”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. said Thursday it has removed two Chinese-run online marketplaces from its “Notorious Markets List” after operators worked with trademark rights holders to significantly decrease the amount of counterfeit and pirated products sold on the sites.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said it has removed the Chinese sites Taobao and Sogou from the list after both sites worked with rights holders to address copyright and trademark infringing products sold on their sites.

USTR’s review lists more than 30 Internet and physical markets around the world that sell infringing goods and services and facilitate global piracy and counterfeiting.

“We highlight the notorious markets that have a negative impact on legitimate businesses and industries of all sizes that rely on intellectual property to protect their goods and services,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “I applaud the actions that some markets have taken to begin ridding their virtual and physical marketplaces of pirated and counterfeit goods, as well as enforcement actions taken by certain governments that have resulted in the shutdown of several other markets. It is through both voluntary and government actions that we will continue to improve the landscape for IPR owners and companies and their workers here at home that rely on IPR protection.”

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USTR said in the report that Taobao “significantly decreased” the listing of counterfeit and pirated products on its website in the past year after working with rights holders.

“Taobao has been removed from the 2012 List because it has undertaken notable effors over the past year to work with rights holders directly or through their industry associations to clean up its site,” the report said.

U.S. officials also urged Taobao to further streamline procedures for submitting and responding to notifications, to decrease the time it takes to take down listings of counterfeit and pirated products and to continue efforts working with rights holders, such as the apparel and footwear and software industries.

The U.S. also removed the site, Sogou, from the list after its operators took steps to address infringing products online, the report said.

The list aims to identify Internet and physical markets selling counterfeit and pirated products that have been the subject of enforcement or may merit further investigation. It does not reflect findings of legal violations or analyze the climate of IPR protection and enforcement in the countries where the markets exist.