IN THE HEADLINES
WHAT TO WATCH
USTR 2016 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets
Despite Alibaba’s removal of more than 380 million problematic product listings and closing of approximately 180,000 Taobao stores in the prior year, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has placed Taobao on its “notorious markets” list once again. One auto manufacturer reportedly claimed “that at least 95 percent of the merchandise bearing its company’s brand names and trademarks found on Alibaba platforms is suspected to be counterfeit.”
Some U.S. commentators, citing Alibaba’s reported efforts against counterfeits, disagreed with the USTR decision. MORE
Online Counterfeits in India
In the BPP’s Temperature Test poll for our December 2016 edition, India ranked highest as the manufacturing country which posed the highest risk beyond China. A January report confirmed the problem, noting that in India “about 80% of consumers buying counterfeit goods are victims of deception.”
Super Bowl LI Seizures
Operation Team Player at Super Bowl LI highlighted the continuing problems with sales of counterfeit merchandise surrounding championship sporting events. Such sales can flourish at other times and places as well. In the three months after its postseason playoffs, Major League Baseball reportedly sent 150,000 requests to Amazon to take down counterfeit-goods listings. Foreign sports teams have encountered similar problems. Danny Marti, the former U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, cited counterfeit sports merchandise as evidence that, “The counterfeit problem is real . . . We’re not going to seize our way out of this.” (For more on Marti’s views regarding the extent of counterfeit products, see the interview with him in the December 2016 issue of the BPP).
WHAT TO WATCH
Companies Shuttering China Operations
More foreign companies are closing operations in China for reasons that include high taxes, rising labor costs, and fierce competition from domestic Chinese companies. How will this shift enforcement strategies in China and elsewhere?
U.S. Import Taxes
As Americans file their tax returns, U.S. companies will be watching as the Border-Adjusted Tax (“BAT”) law regarding imports takes final shape. Application of the proposed tax could complicate efforts to determine profitability due to restricted deductions on the cost of goods sold. This, in turn, could complicate efforts to forecast demand for imports and associated brand protection efforts.
MORE and MORE
Elections in France—including the two rounds of presidential elections to be held in late April and early May and the two rounds of legislative elections to be held in June—may have profound implications for the European Union. The campaign is exposing rifts in attitudes toward the EU similar to those evident in March general elections in the Netherlands and last year’s “Brexit” vote.
See this issue’s cover story, What Could Brexit Mean for Brand Protection?
THE BRAND PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2017 | VOLUME 2 NUMBER 1
2017 COPYRIGHT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES