STOPfakes News

USTR Releases 2015 Special 301 Report

April 30, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). 

“Made-in-America exports are an essential source of economic growth and well-paying, Middle Class jobs in the United States,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “American innovation and creativity are a cornerstone of our economic strength and competitiveness.  U.S. companies and workers generate many of the innovative breakthroughs that have saved and enriched lives in the United States and abroad. The content produced by America’s creative industries is enjoyed worldwide, and U.S. brands are among the most valued and trusted internationally.”

“Tens of millions of Americans owe their jobs to intellectual property-intensive industries.  Strong and balanced protection and enforcement of intellectual property are critical for promoting exports of U.S. innovative and creative goods and services, and sustaining those jobs here at home.  The Special 301 Report is an important tool – and a demonstration of this Administration’s resolve – to ensure that Americans can bring their inventions and creations to people all over the world without their work being infringed or misappropriated.”

Significant elements of the 2015 Special 301 Report include the following:

  • China remains on the Priority Watch List.  The Report draws attention to China’s wide-ranging intellectual property law reform effort and certain positive enforcement initiatives, but also to new and longstanding concerns about IPR protection and enforcement, including with respect to trade secret misappropriation and technology localization. Such new measures include conditioning market access on use of Chinese indigenous IPR, R&D being conducted in China, and the provision of source code to the Chinese Government.
  • The Report draws attention to the increased bilateral engagement in 2015 between the United States and India on IPR concerns, following the 2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of India on this issue.  India will remain on the Priority Watch List in 2015, but with the full expectation that the new channels for engagement created in the past year will bring about substantive and measurable improvements in India’s IPR regime for the benefit of a broad range of innovative and creative industries.  The United States has offered to work with India to achieve these goals.  We are not announcing another OCR at this time, but will monitor progress over the coming months, and are prepared to take further action, if necessary.
  • USTR also highlights serious and ongoing concerns with respect to the environment for IPR protection and enforcement in Turkey, Indonesia, Russia, Argentina and other markets. 
  • USTR announces that it will conduct Out-of-Cycle reviews to promote engagement and progress on IPR challenges identified in this year’s reviews of Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Spain.

The report also highlights progress made by our trading partners to resolve and address IPR issues of concern to the United States:

  • Italy implemented new regulations in 2014 to combat copyright piracy over the Internet, including by providing notice-and-takedown procedures that incorporate due process safeguards and establish a mechanism for addressing large-scale piracy. 
  • The Philippines carried out administrative enforcement reforms that have resulted in streamlined procedures, enhanced inter-agency cooperation, and more enforcement action, including increased seizures of pirated and counterfeit goods.
  • Denmark established a unit to be housed under the Danish Patent and Trademark Office that will assist in enforcement efforts by serving those consumers and businesses that have allegedly been the victims of patent, design, and trademark infringement.
  • Paraguay and the Philippines have committed to a whole-of-government approach to IPR enforcement that has been critical to enhancing the effectiveness of IPR enforcement and resulted in positive reports from a number of affected stakeholder groups. 


The “Special 301” Report is an annual review of the global state of IPR protection and enforcement.  USTR conducts this review pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

USTR reviewed seventy-two (72) trading partners for this year’s Special 301 Report, and placed thirty-seven (37) of them on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.  

In this year’s Report, trading partners on the Priority Watch List present the most significant concerns this year regarding insufficient IPR protection or enforcement or actions that otherwise limited market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection.  Thirteen countries — Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela — are on the Priority Watch List.  These countries will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year.   

Twenty-four trading partners are on the Watch List, and also merit bilateral attention to address underlying IPR problems:  Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.   

USTR also announces that it will launch several Out-of-Cycle Reviews to enhance engagement with trading partners and encourage progress on IPR issues of concern.  USTR will conduct an OCR of Watch List countries Paraguay, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as well as of two countries not currently listed, Honduras and Spain.  Details appear in Section II of the Report.  USTR may conduct additional OCRs of other trading partners as circumstances warrant, such as in Ecuador, or as requested by the trading partner. 


USTR continued its enhanced approach to public engagement activities in this year’s Special 301 process.  USTR requested written submissions from the public through a notice published in the

Federal Register on December 29, 2014.  On February 24, 2015, USTR hosted a public hearing at which interested persons testified before the interagency Special 301 subcommittee about issues relevant to the review.  The hearing featured testimony from witnesses representing foreign governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations.  Continuing a practice initiated during the prior year, USTR recorded the hearing testimony, made it publicly available, and offered a post-hearing comment period during which hearing participants and interested parties could submit additional information in support of, or in response to, hearing testimony. 

The December 2014 notice in the Federal Register — and post-hearing comment period — drew submissions from 55 interested parties, including 21 trading partner governments.  The submissions that USTR received are available to the public online, docket number USTR-2014-00425.  The public can access both the video and transcript of the hearing

CBP, ICE HSI Release Seizure Statistics for 2014, Report $1.2 Billion in Counterfeit Seizures in 2014

April 2, 2015
Release Date: April 2, 2015

WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) today announced the fiscal year 2014 results of an aggressive enforcement program to protect the United States from counterfeit and pirated goods. CBP and HSI are the components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

Counterfeit sunglasses with an estimated MSRP of $1,619,550 seized by CBP officers in July 2013.

Counterfeit sunglasses with an estimated MSRP of $1,619,550 seized by CBP officers in July 2013.

“Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical part of CBP’s trade enforcement mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “In 2014, strong partnerships with our federal enforcement counterparts, effective targeting of high risk shipments and frontline interceptions of cargo at America’s ports of entry produced more than 23,000 seizures of fake products worth an estimated $1.2 billion that could have cheated or threatened the health of American consumers.”

“These results are a testament to the efforts of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, and the increased collaboration fostered by the IPR Center,” said ICE’s Director Sarah Saldaña. “To be clear, intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime. The victims are American businesses, and the employees whose jobs are dependent on IP-intensive industries. Counterfeiting is a crime of global proportions, and when property rights are violated, American jobs are lost, business profits are stolen and ultimately, consumers are cheated.”

Counterfeit soccer club apparel with an estimated MSRP of $1,016,3990 seized by CBP officers in April 2014.

Counterfeit soccer club apparel with an estimated MSRP of $1,016,3990 seized by CBP officers in April 2014.

In fiscal year 2014, there were 23,140 intellectual property rights seizures with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP of $1.2 billion, the value of the goods had they been genuine.  In addition, 144 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  CBP also enforced 44 exclusion orders in fiscal year 2014. Since 2007, CBP has identified intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade mission. Although IPR seizures declined slightly in 2014 from 2013, CBP recorded its third busiest year for seizures since 2005.

The top ten counterfeit commodities seized are:

  1. Wearing apparel/accessories
  2. Consumer electronics
  3. Pharmaceuticals/personal care
  4. Handbags/wallets
  5. Footwear
  6. Watches/jewelry
  7. Optical media
  8. Computers/accessories
  9. Labels/tags
  10. Toys

Wearing apparel and accessories continue to be the number one commodity classification based on number of seizures with 7,922 seizures or 28 percent.  Watches and jewelry are the largest commodity classification by value with an estimated MSRP of $375 million or 31 percent.

The People’s Republic of China remains the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized with a total value of $772 million, representing 63 percent of all IPR seizures by MSRP. Hong Kong ranks second with $310 million or 25 percent.

Tactical interagency collaboration with the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) resulted in 683 arrests, with 454 indictments and 461 convictions.

The National IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center harnesses the tactical expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.

CBP and HSI protect businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program.  CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.

For more information, please visit the following CBP web pages:

Intellectual Property Rights Seizure Statistics Fiscal Year 2014 Report

Turning the Tide Video on CBP Intellectual Property Rights initiatives

Additional information on how CBP can help protect Intellectual Property Rights


USTR Releases 2014 Notorious Markets List

March 5, 2015

Notorious Markets List Focuses Fight Against Global Piracy and Counterfeiting of American Products

Washington, D.C. –United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the findings of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets for 2014, which highlights certain physical and online markets around the world that are reported to engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting that harms American businesses and undermines our workers.  The publication of the Notorious Markets report helps the United States and foreign governments to prioritize intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement that protects job-supporting innovation and creativity in the United States and around the world.  

Upon releasing the report, Ambassador Froman said, “American innovation fuels our economy.  Intellectual property protects the contributions and livelihoods of the 40 million Americans whose jobs are supported by intellectual property-intensive and associated industries.  The theft we're shining a light on today is detrimental not only to creators and inventors, but also to consumers, who may be deceived and even endangered by Notorious Markets engaging in counterfeiting and piracy. Our commitment to underscore the protection of intellectual property rights has produced real results, and today's action is another important part of that effort.”

The Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets identifies particularly infamous markets, and does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in pirated or counterfeit goods around the world.  Nor does it reflect the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned; such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April.  However, the United States urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Robert Holleyman, pointed to early success and remaining work to combat piracy and counterfeiting.

"The results from the past Notorious Markets report are very encouraging. In a short time we have seen a real effort by private and public entities to take action against serious offenders and we have seen businesses that resisted change for years turn the corner toward legitimate commerce. The success of our campaign to shine a light on thieves as well as on misguided sites has been exciting to see. Sites that want to be taken seriously reform and those that don't are being shuttered. The Notorious Markets List is helping shift the rewards of e-commerce away from illicit trade and back to the entrepreneurs, artists, and legitimate businesses that provide the quality goods and services that consumers want.  There is much more work to do, and IPR counterfeiting and piracy remains a very real and present threat, but we have found a helpful tool to shine a spotlight on efforts to combat this illicit activity."

To read the full report, which also includes examples of previously-identified Notorious Markets that have taken meaningful steps to address piracy and counterfeiting, click here


USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006.  In 2010, USTR announced that it would begin to publish the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report to increase public awareness and guide related trade and other enforcement actions.  USTR published the first stand-alone Notorious Markets List in February 2011 as an “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” and has published a list for every year since. 

Today’s announcement concludes the 2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, which was initiated on September 26, 2014, through publication in the Federal Register of a request for public comments.  The Notorious Markets List was developed by the U.S. Government agencies represented on the USTR-chaired Special 301 Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) based on information received in response to the Federal Register request.  The request for comments and the public’s responses can be viewed online at, Docket number USTR-2014-0017.  Information about Special 301, the TPSC process, and other trade issues is available at  


Protecting Trademarks in Domain Names

December 29, 2014

The U.S. Department of Commerce has prepared an information sheet, also in chart form, about protecting trademarks in the expansion of generic top-level domains (such as ".com", ".org", and ".net") in the domain name system. Over 1,300 new domains could become available over the next few years.  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) website has more information about new domains at, including the strings that have been delegated to date.  In order for American businesses to benefit from the new opportunities that this expanded system presents, as well as to protect their business interests, it is important to stay apprised of developments in this area.  These developments include the several Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs), currently available only in the new gTLDs, to aid trademark owners in protecting their trademarks: the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system. Information on using these tools to protect your trademarks in domain names is available under the Business Tools section of this website at:

2015 Special 301 Review: Request for Public Comment and Announcement of Public Hearing

December 29, 2014

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is now accepting public submissions from interested persons to be used in conducting the 2015 "Special 301" review of the intellectual property rights (IPR) practices of foreign countries. Each year the USTR leads an interagency process to identify the foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of IPR or that deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on IP protection. Written submissions from interested persons are a key source of information for this process. The submission deadline for most interested parties is February 6, 2015 while the deadline for foreign governments is February 13, 2015. Interested persons also have the opportunity to provide input by making statements at a public hearing in late February 2015. At the conclusion of the process, USTR will publish the results of the review in a “Special 301” Report around April 30, 2015. 

Federal Register Notice

More information about Special 301


USPTO Hosts Trade Secret Symposium

December 17, 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is pleased to announce that it will host a Trade Secret Symposium on Thursday, January 8, 2015, at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The symposium will provide an opportunity for members of the public to hear from representatives of academia, government, legal practice and industry on important trade secret issues facing innovators today.
The panels will touch on a variety of topics, including legislative proposals regarding trade secret protection, the challenges to estimating losses due to trade secret theft, the intersection of patents and trade secrets, issues in civil litigation involving trade secrets, international considerations, and the response to trade secret theft in the U.S.    
The symposium will be held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Madison Building, Madison Auditorium South, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia  22314.  The symposium will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.  The agenda will be available a week before the symposium and registration is available on PTO’s website at IP Initiatives & Events.  Attendees may also register at the door.  Attendance is free. 


USPTO and WIPO Announce Fall Dates for Educational Programs on International IP Protection

November 10, 2014

Protecting Your IP Overseas: WIPO Services and Initiatives

November 10-11, 2014 - Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA - 2-day program - Registration fee: $60.  The event in Boston is also co-sponsored by Suffolk University Law School.

November 12, 2014 - The Chauncey Conference Center, Princeton, NJ - 1-day program - Registration fee: $35

November 13-14, 2014 - The Global Intellectual Property Academy @ the US Patent & Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA - 2-day program. Registration fee: $60

Are you looking to take your business overseas but not sure how to protect your intellectual property (IP) rights? Or do you represent businesses and want to hear about the latest developments in global IP systems? Then sign up to attend this seminar, specially designed to teach you how to maximize your options.

Who should attend:

  • Small and medium sized businesses who want to expand into new markets overseas
  • Legal, financial and policy advisors for internationally focused businesses
  • Business leaders interested in maximizing their global reach

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) working with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the US Chamber of Commerce, and the US Patent and Trademark Office are pleased to offer this valuable educational program.

Senior representatives from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will lead an interactive program of discussions that are sure to be of interest to anyone involved in the international protection of IP rights. The event will provide an introduction to WIPO services and initiatives, including international systems for the protection of IP rights, alternative dispute resolution, and infrastructure for the exchange of IP information. There will be plenty of opportunity for debate and discussion, as well as interaction with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and local business representatives. A full agenda will be available soon.

We are pleased to be offering these programs in three locations this fall.

In Boston and in Alexandria, we are pleased to offer up to 12.5 hours of CLE available for RI, NH (self reporting), CA, NY, VA, DE, PA.  Other states by request.  In New Jersey, we are pleased to offer up to 6.6 hours of CLE for CA, NY, NJ, PA.

Program registration includes CLE processing, continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches, and conference materials.



USTR Begins Special 301 Report Out-of-Cycle Review of India's Engagement on Intellectual Property

October 14, 2014

In the 2014 Special 301 Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that, in order to assess progress on engagement with the Government of India on intellectual property rights (IPR) issues, an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) would be conducted for India. USTR requests written submissions from the public concerning information, views, acts, policies, or practices relevant to evaluating the Government of India's engagement on IPR issues of concern, in particular those identified in the 2014 Special 301 Report. The 2014 Special 301 Report is available at

USTR Press Release

Federal Register Request

Take Me To The Docket

USITC Launches 337Info

September 30, 2014

For more information on the USITC, start here.



337Info Unites Multiple Data Sources, Provides Fast and Easy Access to Information

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today launched a new web-based tool that will help users find information about and track unfair import investigations brought under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (section 337 investigations).

337Info is an information retrieval system that contains data about USITC section 337 investigations, including:

  • the unfair act(s) alleged (patent, trademark, or copyright infringement; misappropriation of trade secrets; etc.)

  • the parties involved (current and historical)

  • the Administrative Law Judge(s) (ALJ(s)) and USITC staff assigned (current and historical)

  • the product(s) involved

  • current investigation status and key dates (hearing dates, target dates, etc.)

  • key dates in the procedural history (e.g., date of institution)

  • disposition of the investigation as a whole and by respondent

  • remedial order(s) issued

  • any appeals and/or ancillary proceedings

337Info brings together information that was previously spread across the USITC website and presents it in a single, user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface. It features a robust search capability that enables users to identify investigations of interest; track ongoing investigations, appeals, and ancillary proceedings from filing to disposition; and conduct research with ease.

337Info currently includes information about investigations instituted or otherwise initiated on or after October 1, 2008. These investigations include violation-phase, enforcement, bond forfeiture, and modification proceedings, as well as investigations following a remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The data will generally be updated within three business days of a Commission or ALJ action.

337Info is not a document repository. To view official documents filed in USITC investigations, users may use the USITC Electronic Document Information System (EDIS).

337Info will not replace current procedures related to the release of information on target dates. ALJ initial determinations will continue to be posted in the Press Room section of the USITC website on the date of release. Commission decisions on whether to review ALJ initialdeterminations and Commission final determinations will continue to be posted in the Federal Register section of the USITC website at 5 p.m. on the date of release.

Users are encouraged to visit the 337Info site and explore its features. An online tutorial and Frequently Asked Questions document will help users become familiar with the system and how to use it. The USITC also anticipates offering limited training sessions in the near future. Information will be announced when such sessions are scheduled.

The USITC, an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency, adjudicates complaints brought under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended. Section 337 declares the infringement of certain statutory intellectual property rights and other forms of unfair competition in import trade to be unlawful practices. Most section 337 investigations involve allegations of patent or registered trademark infringement. Other forms of unfair competition, such as misappropriation of trade secrets, trade dress infringement, passing off, false advertising, and false designation of origin, may also be asserted.


USPTO Releases Two New Online Trademark Resources

September 29, 2014

The USPTO is making available two new trademark resources online:
(1) the Trademark Litigation Online Toolkit (, answering common questions about trademark litigation, and 
(2) the TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) "Nuts and Bolts" video series (, how-to videos providing information about each page of the TEAS initial application form.