AAFA welcomes USTR reports on intellectual property rights
Posted April 29, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) praised the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) following the release of the 2019 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets and the 2020 Special 301 reports, both of which were released earlier today.
"Special thanks to USTR Ambassador Lighthizer and his team, the U.S. Department of Commerce and supporting agencies for incorporating AAFA's input into these important reports," said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA. "AAFA steadfastly advocates for our members’ intellectual property – such as their brands, their designs and their innovations – and is pleased the USTR provides a regular forum for us to share and air our perspectives on foreign country practices as well as those of physical and online marketplaces.
“We have been particularly focused on drawing attention to the counterfeits that too often plague foreign and domestic third-party marketplaces,” he added.
Lamar continued: “Unfortunately, consumers are learning the hard way that counterfeits affect more than lost sales for famous brands. They also expose purchasers of everyday basics and essentials to a range of quality concerns and product safety risks. It is essential that both domestic and worldwide marketplaces, and the countries that house them, implement effective and proactive measures to safeguard intellectual property to protect consumers, workers, and their families.
“This is especially the case during the COVID-19 crisis, when more Americans than ever have made online purchases, which can unknowingly expose them to counterfeits sold on unsafe marketplaces,” he added. “While we are sickened to hear reports of the fake masks and other bogus items of personal protective equipment that have been trafficked, online sales of fake shoes, pants, shirts, and other articles of clothing can be equally dangerous if they violate product safety standards.”
AAFA identified 130 physical marketplaces and eight online marketplaces that member companies identified as engaging in and facilitating substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. AAFA’s full 2019 Notorious Market submission can be found here.
In its Special 301 submission, AAFA provided perspectives on IP practices in eight countries. AAFA’s full 2020 Special 301 submission can be found here.