IndiaMART, one of the largest Indian e-commerce websites, along with four physical marketplaces in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai have figured in the latest annual edition of the Notorious Markets List of the US.
Released by the US Trade Representative (USTR) on Tuesday, the 2022 Notorious Markets List identifies 39 online and 33 physical markets that are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.
The Indian markets in the list are IndiaMART, Heera Panna in Mumbai, Kidderpore in Kolkata, Sadar Patrappa Road Market in Bengaluru, and Tank Road in Delhi.
"The widespread trade in counterfeit and pirated goods harms the economic security of American workers and undermines our work to craft equitable and inclusive trade policy," USTR Katherine Tai said.
"The Notorious Markets List is an important tool that urges the private sector and our trading partners to take action against these harmful practices," she added.
According to the USTR report, IndiaMART is a high-volume e-commerce website and mobile app that connects buyers with suppliers. It describes itself as the largest online business-to-business marketplace in India.
Regarding positive steps taken over the past year, one right holder reported that IndiaMART has been cooperative in engagement and improving complaint response times. However, counterfeit goods on the e-commerce site, including pharmaceuticals, electronics, and apparel, remain a serious concern for other rights holders, the USTR report said.
Right holders dispute that the e-commerce site adequately engaged with them and implemented anti-counterfeiting best practices, including seller verification, penalties against known sellers of counterfeit goods, or proactive monitoring for infringing goods. Its assertion regarding the responsiveness of its notice-and-takedown system was also questioned.
A major indoor market in the heart of Mumbai, Heera Panna reportedly offers counterfeit watches, footwear, electronics, accessories, and cosmetics.
"Right holders warn that counterfeit cosmetics sold at this market have health and safety risks," the report said.
Locally known in Kolkata as the "Fancy Market", Kidderpore contains shops allegedly selling various counterfeit and pirated goods, including apparel, cosmetics, electronics, optical media, and software.
According to the report, Sadar Patrappa (SP) Road Market in Bengaluru is reported by right holders as a "hot spot" for a wide variety of counterfeit electronic products, attracting large numbers of locals and tourists.
The market was found to have a lot of brokers loitering around and luring customers. Despite a raid on counterfeits in this market in early 2022, enforcement efforts by local authorities have been insufficient to encourage improvement in it, the report said.
The report, quoting right holders, said that Tank Road, the New Delhi market, continues to sell counterfeit products, including apparel, footwear, watches, handbags, electronics, and beauty products.
Wholesale counterfeit goods are reportedly supplied from this market to other Indian markets, including Gaffar Market and Ajmal Khan Road.
According to the right holders, local police have conducted some enforcement actions, but these efforts have been insufficient in substantially reducing the sales of counterfeits in the market, the report said.
USTR is an agency of the US government responsible for developing and promoting American trade policy.
It first identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report in 2006. It has been publishing the Notorious Markets List annually since February 2011, separately from the Special 301 Report, to increase public awareness and help market operators and governments prioritise intellectual property enforcement efforts that protect American businesses and their workers.