US adds AliExpress to ‘notorious markets’ list

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E-commerce sites operated by Tencent and Alibaba are targeted for trademark counterfeiting and piracy

US regulators have added e-commerce sites operated by Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba to the ‘notorious markets’ list, the US Trade Representative’s office (USTR) said on Thursday.

This includes identifying for the first time AliExpress and the WeChat e-commerce ecosystem, two significant China-based online markets that reportedly facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting,” the USTR statement reads.

The list now includes 42 online markets and 35 physical markets that are accused of “engaging in or facilitating trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.” Apart from this week’s big-name additions, China-based online markets Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo, and Taobao are also on the list, as well as nine physical markets located in China “known for the manufacture, distribution, and sale of counterfeit goods.”

Inclusion on the list, published annually since 2006, does not lead to any direct sanctions or penalties, but, according to the USTR, serves to raise public and government awareness of intellectual property issues. It does not reflect any actual findings of legal violations of intellectual property rights – nevertheless, it is considered a stain on a company’s reputation.

Beijing slammed the recent additions as “irresponsible” in a statement on Friday, saying the list lacks conclusive evidence and sufficient proof.

Both Tencent and Alibaba vowed to work with government agencies to resolve the matter, noting that both actively monitor and act upon intellectual property rights violations on their respective platforms.

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