Indian e-commerce platform IndiaMART and four physical marketplaces in the country, including New Delhi’s Palika Bazaar, featured in the annual list of “notorious markets” published by the Office of the United States’ Trade Representative on Thursday.
The three other Indian physical markets in the “2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy” are Heera Panna in Mumbai, Kidderpore in Kolkata and Tank Road in Delhi.
All the four physical markets were also in the 2020’s “notorious markets list”.
The 2021 list identified 42 online and 35 physical markets across the world which the US agency said “engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy”, reported PTI.
The report said that counterfeit goods can allegedly be found in “large volumes” on IndiaMART. These goods include pharmaceuticals, electronics and apparel.
It said that the right holders, who own the intellectual property of the original products, were concerned about the e-commerce platform’s failure to implement anti-counterfeiting practices, including seller verification, penalties against known sellers of counterfeit goods or proactive monitoring of infringing goods.
“IndiaMART apparently has a notice-and-takedown system, but right holders report that it is burdensome to use, the time-to-takedown is slow, and the status of notices is not transparently communicated to right holders,” it said.
About Delhi’s Palika Bazaar, the report said that the underground market is “well-known” for trading of counterfeit products, such as mobile accessories, cosmetics, watches and eyewear. It said that most shoppers in the market are students and other youth “who want trendy products at cheap prices”.
Citing right holders, the report said that the market in the national Capital’s Tank Road sells counterfeit products, including apparel, footwear, watches, handbags, electronics and beauty products.
“Wholesale counterfeit goods are also reportedly supplied from this market to other Indian markets, including Gaffar Market and Ajmal Khan Road,” it said. “Right holders note that conducting enforcement actions at this location is challenging, as the market is located in a residential area and sellers often appear to have advanced knowledge of raids, limiting their effectiveness.”
In Mumbai Heera Panna, the report said that the counterfeit items such as watches, footwear, accessories and cosmetics are sold. It said that right holders warn that counterfeit cosmetics sold there have health and safety risks.
“A raid at Heera Panna in September 2021 resulted in arrests for selling counterfeit versions of premium watches,” it said.
About Kidderpore market, which is locally known as Fancy Market, the report said that it sells counterfeit apparel and cosmetics, often in wholesale quantities. It said that severe skin problems, rashes, irritation and eye diseases have reportedly been caused due to the poor quality of these counterfeits items.
The report said the piracy and counterfeiting cause significant financial losses to the US right holders and legitimate businesses, undermine the country’s comparative advantages in innovation and creativity and pose significant risks to consumer health and safety.
“The 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy [Notorious Markets List, or NML] highlights prominent and illustrative examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy or counterfeiting,” the report said.
It added: “A goal of the NML is to motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting.”