3. Frameworks

To succeed, e-commerce platforms need to establish a climate of trust that ensures that sellers are paid, and consumers are provided with a satisfactory product within a reasonable timeframe. In addition, mechanisms need to be in place to resolve disputes between sellers and consumers in a fair and timely manner. Moreover, platforms hosting third party sellers need to ensure that those sellers can be relied on to adhere to the platforms’ terms and conditions, which generally includes a commitment to not sell illicit products. The operation of e-commerce, however, has not been left solely to the industry, as it is subject to the laws and regulations promulgated and issued by public authorities, international agreements and targeted actions by governments.

The role that governments should play in managing the Internet is an ongoing debate, with a rough division into four camps (GCIG, 2016[1]):

  • those favouring the continuation of a multistakeholder approach that originated organically from entities forming the technical community;

  • those favouring a migration to international institutions based, for example, in the United Nations;

  • those favouring a strong governmental model with states exercising sovereign control over their countries’ portion of the Internet, accompanied where necessary by international treaties; and, more recently,

  • those favouring a multistakeholder approach that involves more conscious deliberation and planning of each stakeholder’s respective role.

At the international level, amid concerns that the openness of the Internet was at risk, OECD countries agreed on the desirability of an approach that strengthened international co-operation, while supporting a flexible, multi-stakeholder approach to Internet policy making. This is reflected in a set of 14 principles adopted by the OECD Council in 2011 (OECD, 2011[2]). Furthermore, in 2016, Ministers from 42 OECD and non-OECD countries, and the European Union, adopted a declaration committed to taking a series of actions to promote the development of the Internet (OECD, 2016[3]).

Another relevant international forum to co-ordinate actions to counter abuse of e-commerce in illicit trade in counterfeits is the World Customs Organization (WCO). The WCO Framework of Standards on cross-border e-commerce provides general guidelines, with Standard 9 referring to “Prevention of Fraud and Illicit Trade.” Specifically, standard 9 invites customs administrations to “…work with other relevant government agencies to establish procedures for analysis and investigations of illicit cross-border e-commerce activities with a view to prevent and detect fraud, deter the misuse of e-commerce channels and disrupt illicit flow.”1 This general guideline is further complemented by specific implementation tools, including case study examples.

As discussed below, governments have been active in addressing issues concerning bad actors and e-commerce fraud in recent years, in a variety of ways, by encouraging co-operation with and among stakeholders, and through specific initiatives designed to improve the functioning of e-commerce. In Australia, the government is working on a mechanism through which authorised sellers of branded products could be confirmed by consumers on the seller’s website, by clicking on a symbol which links the website to the government’s trademark registry, which would authenticate the seller as a supplier of legitimate products. In Belgium, the government has focused on policing the Internet, taking down sites which are trading in counterfeits, in co-operation with law enforcement in other jurisdictions. Considerable attention has been paid to strengthening the registration process for websites; suspicious websites are subject to scrutiny and verification before being authorised.

In the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, working groups have been formed to address e-commerce IP issues. In the case of the European Union, a voluntary, non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with rights holders and platforms was created to tackle issues. The EU Commission, which administers the MoU, plays a supportive role that aims to keep the work on track. Participants on the MoU have made commitments in six key areas.

In the United Kingdom, brand owners have been working with the law enforcement to identify websites selling counterfeits. Once claims are vetted, enforcement provides the information on offending websites to the country’s web registrar, which organises the suspension of the websites concerned.

In the United States, the government formed an Electronic Commerce Working Group in 2017 to encourage the flow of actionable data and information among major online sales platforms. As part of this initiative, platforms are moving forward with the creation of a private-sector data sharing platform to identify common targets and actionable intelligence about counterfeiters and their criminal networks and will explore opportunities to include additional participants to include shippers, freight forwarders, brokers, social media, and other third-party intermediaries. In January 2020, the US created the Anti-Counterfeiting Consortium to Identify Online Nefarious Actors (ACTION) to monitor adoption and report on the effectiveness of private sector best practices established in the report on Combatting Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods.

The report identified 10 best practices that platforms and third-party marketplaces could use to enhance their work in this area, and provided for the development of non-binding MoUs with the US IPR Center, which could be used to clarify the expectations and legal understanding for data sharing and coordinated IPR enforcement. ACTION is responsible for monitoring the adoption and efficiency of the voluntary best practices.

Finally, the EUIPO has been working on a webpage providing basic information on the IP protection mechanisms in place at different platforms. As part of the development of its IP Enforcement Portal, it is also developing a system that will enable platform operators to identify brand owner contact points in the different areas of IP infringement. There is also interest in developing a secure system that will allow IP owners to report information on infringement, which could then be accessed by participating platform operators.

In Australia, a pilot project is underway which seeks to authenticate the merchandise being sold on a platform (OECD, 2021[4]). In 2019, IP Australia, the government agency which is responsible for administering intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation relating to patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder's rights,2 developed a Smart Trade Mark mechanism, which is designed to help business and consumers determine whether the products that they are purchasing are authentic (i.e. not counterfeit), using block chain technology. The system enables trademark holders to request IP Australia to attach a business-critical artefact, which in the case of Smart Trade Mark is a URL, to the government’s trademark registry. The link can then be verified using Amazon’s Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) service.3

The National Rugby League,4 which has a high level of interest in protecting its brand, has been actively supporting the initiative. In addition to selling merchandise on its own site, the league sells through independent e-commerce sites and the sites operated by its club members. In support of the verification system, a java-script Trust Badge was developed and then deployed in April 2020. When clicked on by users, the badge connects with an API service that reads down into IP Australia’s database to see if the e-commerce domain is linked to the trademark. If so, an IP Australia generated confirmation pops up. The system is viewed as helping to boost consumer trust. It is not intended to serve as an enforcement tool, but a future role in enhanced enforcement is not being ruled out. Consumer testing following the introduction of the Trust Badge at NRL-related sites confirmed a statistically significant uptick in trust, particularly at third party retail sites. The badge is currently being used at the official NRL site, 14 club sites and 3 independent retail sites, with plans to expand use to other sites in the future. Feedback from the NRL and club owners has been positive, with club owners looking at how sales were affected following introduction of the Trust Mark.

While there are possibilities to expand use of the Trust Mark to large e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, the number of vendors operating on such platforms complicates matters and the system would need to be adapted to distinguish between the different vendors. If this could be done, Safe Trade Mark could eventually complement the efforts of the large platforms to fight counterfeiting. In a related area, some trademark holders might be amenable to granting a platform a Trust Mark, while others might be hesitant. In these cases, a mechanism for distinguishing one group from another would need to be developed.

As the programme is being tested, the final cost to the agency and users is yet to be determined, as are the eventual procedures that would apply to rights holders who want to use the system. As matters stand, operation of the system is viewed as relatively inexpensive, even if it results in millions of “hits”.

In addition to the NRL Trust Badge Pilot, IP Australia is partnering with the Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance (NAAKPA), the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in a Kakadu Plum Pilot, which aims at developing a system of traceability and verification for bush food supply chains, to help ensure these products benefit indigenous communities and enterprises.5 A trial prototype Smart Trade Mark application has been developed for Kakadu plums. A prototype certification trademark scheme that can be used to denote products that meet “made and grown in Australia” requirements has also been developed, in co-operation with Australian consumer and competition bodies. Eventually the two initiatives could be linked to strengthen supply chain authenticity.

With respect to next steps, efforts are already being made to strengthen co-operation and co-ordination with other government bodies, including customs and border authorities. Outreach to industry has also been pursued, and other trademark holders that are following the project have expressed potential interest in taking part in the system, once it is more fully developed. How unscrupulous operators could be discouraged from counterfeiting the Trust Mark itself would also need to be reviewed to ensure that the consequences of such counterfeiting are sufficient. Introduction of anti-counterfeiting technology in the Trust Mark, in ways that pose ongoing challenges to the counterfeiters, is also being explored and some are ready to be deployed, when needed. To date the system has not been compromised. How the initiative could be expanded to cover platforms outside Australia may also eventually need to be addressed, as would ways to work more closely with foreign jurisdictions which may be interested in developing a similar mechanism. There may also be potential to use the system in ways that would support customs efforts to evaluate the credentials of importers. Also, the idea of adapting and deploying the system across entire supply chains will be reconsidered in the future; the concept was tested early on with several companies, but its complexity suggested that further action should be deferred.

While early in its development, the Smart Trade Mark system has already been recognised with several awards, as follows:

  • 2019 AIIA National Winner - Public Sector & Government Innovation

  • 2019 AIIA State Winner - Digital CBR Award

  • 2019 AIIA State Winner - Public Sector & Government Innovation

  • 2019 AIIA State Winner - Infrastructure and Platforms Innovation

  • 2019 Blockchain Industry Awards - Government Project of the Year

With respect to further development, the system is designed to be flexible so that, for example, rights holders could eventually explore linking their trademarks with specific product information, with a view towards enhancing their anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Main governance efforts in the European Union to counter the abuse of e-commerce in trade in counterfeit goods are centred at the European Commission and the EU Agencies, such as the EUIPO. The key initiative is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods on the Internet facilitated by the European Commission. The EU currently considers two pieces of legislation in the e-commerce area: the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA). Last, the EUIPO administers and implements some specific systems.

Apart from the European Commission and the EU Agencies, EU member states were also taking governance actions to address this risk. An illustrative example are measures taken by Belgium (Box 3.1). Another example is Spain, where Guardia Civil leads Operational Actions (OA) to counter intellectual property (IP) crime; the recent edition of OA focuses on illicit trade of counterfeit automotive spare parts and includes e-commerce as an important component.

In 2011, major online platforms and rights holders for goods for which counterfeit and pirated versions are sold online (e.g. fast-moving consumer goods, consumer electronics, fashion and luxury goods, sports goods, films, software, games and toys) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods on the Internet (MoU).6 The MoU was revised and signed again in 2016, to include key performance indicators (KPIs) that are designed to track its impact and measure its success (EC, 2016[5]).

The purpose of this voluntary agreement is to establish a code of practice in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet and to enhance collaboration between the signatories, focusing on co-operation rather than litigation to achieve results (EC, 2020[6]) and (EC, 2013[7]). The MoU can be considered a ‘laboratory’. Reported practices could set a standard for signatory online platforms and rights owners, and may prompt stakeholders not involved in the MoU to perform better in the fight against counterfeiting at national, EU and international level. The agreement is an example of how industry self-regulation can be used to address an important policy issue, with important governmental support. In this case, the European Commission is not a signatory, but it plays a facilitating role, e.g. by organising the meetings and ensuring that all signatories act constructively and in good faith

The agreement is not a legally binding instrument and does not create any contractual or pre-contractual obligations under any law or legal system, nor does it create any liability, rights, waiver of any rights or obligations for any parties or as releasing any parties from their legal obligations. As of 7 October 2021, there were 32 signatories to the MoU, including 15 rights holders, 8 Internet platforms, and 9 industry associations (see Annex II). While the number of participants has increased over time, as discussed below, there have also been few withdrawals (EC, 2020[6]).

The success of the MoU has depended on the following (OECD, 2021[4]) and (EC, 2013[7]):

  • A clear incentive for each signatory resulting from the voluntary agreement.

  • Safeguards in the agreement to protect the essential interests of each signatory, to cater to different business models and commercial policies, and to ensure legal certainty to overcome resistance within the respective organisations.

  • A clearly focused voluntary agreement including well-defined objectives, combined with clearly formulated, realistic obligations, proportionately allocated to parties.

  • A high level of consent and commitment within the companies signing up to the agreement.

  • Sufficient built-in flexibility to allow for adaptations due to changing circumstances, without having to renegotiate the agreement.

  • The presence of an honest broker facilitator (in this case the Commission) to help structure and drive the work and overcome obstacles when difficulties arise.

The revised 2016 MoU is essentially the same as the 2011 MoU, except for the addition of the KPIs mentioned above. It contains a series of commitments by rights holders and Internet platforms to work together to combat online counterfeiting. As shown in Annex I, which provides a summary of some of the key provisions, the commitments are extensive, covering i) notice and takedown procedures, ii) proactive and preventive measures, iii) tackling of repeat infringers, iv) the co-operation, including sharing of information among signatories, v) consumer confidence, information and protection and vi) the supportive role that signatories should play with customs and other law enforcement authorities in their investigations and actions to combat counterfeiting activities.

As indicated, the European Commission plays a key role in managing the agreement, including the organisation of meetings of signatories, which take place as needed, but at least on a biannual basis; in fact, the signatories have agreed to meet twice per year in plenary sessions, and have organised shorter, targeted meetings on topics of interest (such as the Digital Services Act). The Commission is also responsible for preparing an annual report, if needed, on the functioning and application of the MoU. To date, three reports have been issued: a 2013 report on the initial MoU (EC, 2013[7]) and two reports on the 2016 MoU, in 2017 ( (EC, 2017[8]) and 2020 (EC, 2020[6]).

The 2020 assessment report reviews the functioning of the agreement, providing i) a general performance review, ii) an examination against three performance indicators, and iii) a summary of the actions taken by signatories under the MoU (EC, 2020[6]). A summary of conclusions and next steps is presented in a final section of the report.

The report indicates that all signatories agree that the MoU has helped establish or strengthen co-operation. They note that one of the main achievements has been the creation of direct contact points with competent representatives of the signatories.7 This has made it possible to build trust and ensure quality exchanges, speeding up the receipt of feedback. Some rights owners, however, have highlighted the serious challenges that still need to be addressed. Their views diverge as to the effectiveness of the MoU in terms of its impact on the volume of counterfeits made available online.

Generally, the signatories are satisfied with the practical organisation of the meetings and find that having two plenary meetings a year is sufficient. They consider it useful to invite external experts for the meetings, and appreciate the presentations by technology experts, as new technologies are crucial for staying ahead of counterfeiters.

Most signatories consider the MoU to be “fit for purpose” (i.e. properly designed to meet the objectives of the MoU). However, some rights owners believe that the MoU lacks the efficiency to combat counterfeiting and that the KPIs should be updated. They suggest improving the functioning of the MoU by finding solutions to issues such as repeat infringers and offers of goods for sale that are suspicious, but for which it is difficult to identify IPR infringement. Some rights owners advocate amending the text of the MoU to broaden its scope, by, for example, including other categories of IP infringements besides counterfeiting.

Signatories have made suggestions for topics to be discussed in future meetings. These include infringing listings, multiple accounts, seller anonymity, differentiation between private and commercial sellers, looking at how to enhance data exchanges, and the implications of the platform to business (P2B) regulation,8 as well as design law cases. Rights owners would also like to discuss the implementation of good practices in more detail.

Most signatories have made suggestions for new actions. These include enhancing tripartite collaboration between online platforms, rights owners and law enforcement authorities, running an information campaign on the MoU at national levels, looking more closely at the retail industry, and including other intermediaries (both online and offline) that are involved in the supply chain. Some signatories have suggested conducting new studies, particularly on online platforms’ proactive and preventive measures (PPM) and their treatment of repeat infringers, on technologies used to identify infringing listings and potential counterfeit goods, on sellers’ terms and conditions implemented by online platforms to address issues such as blurred/concealed logos and bot-generated seller’s contact details.

Support has been expressed for a targeted extension of MoU participation. Rights owners, for example, have expressed interest in including further categories of online intermediaries, such as social media, search engines, payment industry, price comparison sites and websites providing classified advertisements. Online platform operators have also mentioned the payment industry, and shippers and carriers that transport packages as possible areas of interest, as well as expansion of participants to include smaller European online platforms in the MoU.

Three key performance indicators (KPI) were established under the 2016 MoU to assist in evaluating the situation with respect to online sales of counterfeits:

  • KPI 1: Monitoring the number of offers of alleged counterfeit goods;

  • KPI 2: Monitoring the number of listings removed;

  • KPI 3: Monitoring the number of seller restrictions imposed.

Monitoring the offers of alleged counterfeit goods is carried out for selected, vulnerable product categories, which are presumably most affected by counterfeiting. The monitored categories include luxury brands (e.g. clothes, shoes, accessories; jewellery and watches), sporting goods (e.g. footwear; football jerseys), fashion brands (e.g. clothes, shoes, accessories; shirts, sweaters, polo shirts), fast-moving consumer goods (e.g. hygiene, cosmetics and personal care products), and electronics (e.g. printers and toners; electronic equipment devices; lighting/bulbs; telecoms equipment, including mobile phones and related accessories; and computers and batteries). With respect to KPI 2, a distinction is made in the reporting between listings that have been removed because of proactive and preventive measures put in place by online platforms, and the number of listings removed because of notifications from rights owners.

Data on the three KPIs for the selected products are collected by MoU signatories every 6 months, for two one-month periods starting on 15 November and 15 May (EC, 2020[6]). The collected data for the three KPIs are then discussed bilaterally between individual online platforms and individual right owners. The agreed results are then sent to the EUIPO, which acts as a trusted party and ensures the confidentiality of individual submissions and a neutral, non-discriminatory evaluation process. The EUIPO then aggregates and analyses the data and then sends them to the Commission and the signatories, and the results are discussed during the MoU plenary meetings.

The data, while illustrative of the situation reportedly have limited statistical value, as:

  • KPI data concern only counterfeit versions of selected goods and categories of goods as reported by rights owners;

  • the number of listings is limited, and they are only monitored during pre-determined timeframes;

  • there is a lack of harmonised methodology and reliable auditing;

  • KPI data needs to be considered in the context of the evolving participation of signatories;

  • there is no agreement amongst signatories on the interpretation of the data.

With respect to reporting levels, for the six data collection exercises that have been carried out since 2016, data were provided by most rights owners and all online platforms. Some of the rights owners, however, decided not to provide data for some of the data collection exercises, and some of the new signatories were not ready to provide data for the first exercise after their signing of the MoU.

Feedback from signatories indicates general agreement that the monitoring can provide a good overview of trends, but that the mechanism could and should be improved (OECD, 2021[4]) and (EC, 2020[6]). General concerns are that i) data are not collected in a similar fashion and are therefore not comparable, ii) data sometimes not discussed bilaterally, and iii) there no mechanisms for settling disagreements on the data. These and other concerns were addressed by technical experts representing signatory rights owners and online platforms, in January 2020; ideas on how the process could be improved were exchanged. The experts also highlighted some of the positive aspects of the system, notably:

  • the KPIs and data collection exercises provide signatories with a useful and helpful framework to better structure their own monitoring processes;

  • the KPIs and data collection exercises provide rights owners with more insight into the visibility of the counterfeit versions of their goods on online platforms;

  • bilateral discussions give the opportunity to signatories to raise broader issues, and to rights owners to provide feedback on online platforms’ reporting tools.

The MoU has provided a platform for exchanging information on what participants are doing to address the many challenges that they are facing in combatting counterfeiting. Many of these initiatives or practices are reported in the Commission’s reports, which thus serve as an important vehicle for raising awareness of measures that could be taken to strengthen anti-counterfeiting strategies. The 2020 report identifies numerous practices reported by signatories (see Annex III, which contains a summary of reported practices).

Most signatories assess their collaboration under the MoU positively, indicating that close cooperation and information exchange is key to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their anti-counterfeiting measures. The signatories appreciate that the MoU is a good platform for exchange, allowing them to discuss the challenges in online counterfeiting in a regular and pragmatic manner. The initiative has also been of significant value to the European Commission in carrying out its work on the fight against counterfeiting.

Some signatories have, however, expressed reservations about its impact. A large group of rights owners has pointed out that many offers of counterfeit goods are still available on the online marketplaces. These signatories consider the cooperation and information exchange with online platforms to fall short of the commitments made under the MoU. Serious concerns have also been raised about the benefits of the KPI data collection exercises. However, both rights owners and platforms supported continuation of the data collection as it provided a useful framework for structuring their online monitoring activities and their bilateral and plenary discussions. In January 2020, three rights owners in the fashion and luxury goods sectors decided to withdraw from the MoU, as they believed that progress was not sufficient, and the level of counterfeit offers was still too high.

More generally, the MoU can be considered a laboratory of sorts, where signatories exchange practical examples of practices on PPM, NTD procedures and ways to share information e.g. on repeat infringers. These reported practices could set a standard for online platforms and rights owners and may prompt stakeholders not involved in the MoU to perform better in the fight against counterfeiting at national, EU and international levels. Signatories encourage other interested parties to join the MoU, in particular traditional e-commerce platforms and classified ads websites. Signatories also recommend that further categories of online intermediaries, such as social media, search engines, payment services, shippers and price comparison portals, be engaged in the MoU process. Ways to involve these stakeholders in at least a limited way are in fact underway.

Signatories have asked the Commission to continue to support their involvement in the MoU initiative, by ensuring that their reported practices are further disseminated, by monitoring their application by online platforms and rights owners, and, if appropriate, by discussing amendments or additions to these practices.

Most signatories agree that at this stage, the focus should not be on revising the text of the MoU. They wish to continue to meet to discuss the KPI results quantitatively and qualitatively, optimise co-operation and monitor the application of good practices. Signatories also wish to discuss new trends, such as design infringements, new fraud patterns, changes in consumer behaviour and, more recently, the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for the fight against counterfeiting. Interest in examining design infringement reflects the efforts of counterfeiters to avoid traditional anti-counterfeiting mechanisms aimed at trademark infringement. Moreover, targeting counterfeit goods that threaten consumer health and safety, such as electronics, toys, pharmaceutical products and personal protective equipment, could be a crucial next step in the MoU work (EC, 2020[6]). A pilot project to look more closely at goods where authenticity could not be definitively determined has been launched. Finally, there is an interest in delving deeper into certain MoU areas, such as boosting pragmatic ways for online platforms, rights owners and law enforcement authorities to work more intensively together. This is also being pursued as Europol participated in an October MoU meeting, and the EU antifraud office was becoming involved.

With respect to outreach, discussion of the MoU has taken place at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and with certain non-member countries (notably Colombia and Ecuador), and the EU’s experience was shared with Thailand and the Philippines as they developed their own MoUs.

In support of the work on IP, the Commission adopted an intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience in November 2020, which includes provision for the development of a toolbox against counterfeiting, which is designed to improve co-operation among stakeholders and improve data and information sharing (EC, 2020[6]). The toolbox, which is based among others on reported practices and principles developed in the context of various industry-led initiatives, will clarify roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and identify ways to work together. A fundamental element is the sharing of relevant data on products and traders, for which further guidance may be necessary. The toolbox will also promote the use of new technologies such as image recognition, AI and blockchain. Where appropriate, the toolbox will be accompanied by benchmarks to make it possible to measure progress. A roadmap for the toolbox will be published in due course, for comment, and workshops on selected topics are foreseen; it is expected that the toolbox will be published in 2022.

Two pieces of legislation are currently being considered by the European Union in the e-commerce area. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to ensure contestable and fair markets in the digital sector across the Union where gatekeepers are present. In particular, it aims to address against unfair practices,9 and practices that could undermine the contestability of markets in the digital sector being carried out by gatekeepers and thereby enhance fair and contestable online platform environment. The Digital Services Act (DSA) would establish a common set of rules on intermediaries' obligations and accountability, by i) better protecting consumers and their fundamental rights online, ii) establishing a transparency and accountability framework for online platforms and iii) fostering innovation, growth and competitiveness within the single market.10

The EUIPO has been working on a strategic project aimed at enhancing IP protection on e-commerce platforms which involves gathering information about the IP protection programs in place at different platforms, such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and others. The information is being put on a single webpage to assist IP owners in navigating through the different programs, particularly with respect to the different notification mechanisms.

As part of the development of its IP Enforcement Portal, the agency is also developing a system that will enable platform operators to identify brand owner contact points in the different areas of IP infringement. There is also interest in developing a secure system that will allow IP owners to report information on infringement, which could then be accessed by all platform operators, thereby facilitating and enhancing the effectiveness of the information sharing.

In the United Kingdom, there is ample evidence that many counterfeit products are being sold on well-known platforms. The problem is significant, even if the overall scope and magnitude of the problem cannot be precisely measured. Information can be obtained from rights holders who are monitoring platforms, consumer complaints and from the platforms themselves, but such information is incomplete; consumer complaints, for example, are likely to be managed bilaterally with no public disclosure, and platforms are similarly likely to address issues with counterfeiting internally, with no public disclosure.

In 2012, the United Kingdom established a strategic objective to make UK domains the safest in the world for consumers and legitimate businesses to trade. Doing so required the UK Government to engage with domain registrars to move against sites selling counterfeits. This resulted in the launching of Project Ashiko where funding was provided to the London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PICPU). Referrals on infringing websites generally selling fake consumer goods are submitted by brand owners, which supply evidence that goods being sold are counterfeit (IP Crime Group, 2020[9]). After due diligence is undertaken by PIPCU, details are sent to Nominet, the UK registrar, which organises the suspension of the infringing domains. The initiative has resulted in 135,000 sites being taken down over seven years. The information that was developed during the operation, when combined with other information, has proved highly useful in improving efforts to remove sites selling counterfeits.

Roundtables were organised with stakeholders to discuss the problems that had surfaced. Raising awareness of the stakeholders of the nature and scope of the illicit activities proved to be of high value of all stakeholders, even if the discussions were often difficult. The platforms developed a keener appreciation of the infiltration of their sites by counterfeits, while rights owners explored ways to interact more effectively with the platforms. The value of brand of protection programmes and possibilities for training were also explored. Eventually the round tables proved useful in developing a shared perspective among stakeholders of what needed to be done to make platforms better for consumers and legitimate business, and difficult for criminals.

A pilot exercise with Alibaba revealed systematic abuse of the platform by counterfeit sellers, paving the way for further investigation and the development of a process for addressing the problem in co-operation with foreign law enforcement authorities. In another exercise, a snapshot of counterfeits on sale on social media platforms revealed 30,000 offers on one day alone, a clear indication of the scope of criminal activities.

It was noted that small companies might not have resources to fight counterfeiting as vigorously as larger entities. The role that platform operators could play in assisting these smaller brand owners was explored in this regard.

The progress made in identifying ways that rights owners and platforms could jointly address problems was seen as having implications for law enforcement, which could then focus resources on platforms which were reluctant to act. Sometimes discussions with the reluctant platforms were sufficient to their taking more forceful actions.

One of the key challenges, however, is dealing with the response of criminals, who have proven to be adept at finding ways around brand protection measures. Some, for example, have sought to undermine IP by replacing brand registration rights recorded by rights holders on platforms, with their records. How this could be stopped expeditiously and effectively will require international co-operation. Attention also needs to be paid to disrupting supply chains, not only at borders but in hotspots, such as warehouses where counterfeits are stored.

How platforms are promoting brand protection was examined in a research project carried out on the take-down procedures employed by different operators. Three distinct approaches were found:

  • Platforms with a dedicated platform for referrals by rights holders and a high level of information requirements (major e-commerce platforms were all in this group).

  • Platforms with no dedicated platform for referrals and a medium level of information requirements (several social media platforms were in this group).

  • Platforms with no dedicated platform for referrals and a minimum of information requirements.

The possible development of a gateway, by government, the private sector or the platforms themselves, to tie the approaches together is seen as being beneficial.

With respect to next steps, efforts should focus on seven points:

  • Getting stakeholders to work together to exclude counterfeits by design from being traded.

  • Identifying and moving against facilitators and enablers, with particular attention to disrupting money flows.

  • Enabling rights holders to use platforms easily.

  • Promoting consumer protection and safety on platforms.

  • Strengthening international co-operation.

  • Enabling safe sharing of intelligence across platforms and with the public sector.

  • Hardening systems against current and novel abuse.

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is a US Government body overseen by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The IPR Center co-ordinates the US government's enforcement of intellectual property laws. In late 2017, the IPR Center established an E-Commerce Working Group (ECWG) with major online sales platforms to enhance data sharing among private sector third-party intermediaries involved in e-commerce sales. The effort was intended to test the concept that enhanced data sharing among “competitors” will allow companies to enhance their existing efforts to identify and take down sellers of counterfeit merchandise and provide better target leads to law enforcement for potential criminal investigation. This data exchange pilot has validated the concept that a robust exchange of data is a successful way to identify common targets and actionable intelligence for both the private sector and law enforcement and documented the following:

  • Cross-platform illicit activity was found on all rounds of data sharing.

  • A review of the combined dataset indicated that the same individual/business used different/multiple IP addresses, business names, business addresses and phone numbers.

  • Sellers of counterfeit goods were also targeted in criminal/civil litigation suits for trademark/copyright violations and other illicit activity, to include theft, wire fraud, forgery, cocaine trafficking and money laundering.

  • Multiple targets were the subject of HSI intelligence and/or, investigations, or prior CBP seizures.

The project proved to be highly successful, demonstrating the value of a robust exchange of data in i) providing platforms with the information needed to move against bad actors and ii) providing law enforcement information for further investigation and, eventually, interdiction.

In January 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a report on Combatting Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, which identifies actions to be taken by departments and agencies to address counterfeiting problems, including development of an Anti-Counterfeiting Consortium to Identify Online Nefarious Actors (ACTION) Plan (Box 3.2) (DHS, 2020[10]).

The ACTION, which builds on the work of the ECWG, comprises the following three elements (DHS, 2020[10]):

  • Sharing information within the ACTION framework on sellers, shippers, and other third-party intermediaries involved in trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods.

  • Sharing of risk automation techniques, allowing ACTION members to create and improve on proactive targeting systems that automatically monitor online platform sellers for counterfeits and pirated goods.

  • Developing non-binding memoranda of understanding (MoU), with the IPR Center, consistent with US law, to clarify the expectations and legal understanding for data sharing and coordinated IPR enforcement.

The ACTION Plan is designed to strengthen information sharing between platforms, while engaging certain other e-commerce entities, including payment processors, shippers and search engines. ACTION would also be used to communicate best practices back to the private sector and monitor, and report on progress and the effectiveness of, these voluntary best practices for the private sector. Ten practices were identified (DHS, 2020[10]):

  1. 1. Comprehensive "terms of service" agreements.

  2. 2. Significantly enhanced vetting of third-party sellers.

  3. 3. Limitations on high-risk products.

  4. 4. Efficient notice and takedown procedures.

  5. 5. Enhanced post-discovery actions.

  6. 6. Indemnity requirements for foreign sellers.

  7. 7. Clear transactions through banks that comply with US enforcement requests.

  8. 8. Pre-sale identification of third-party sellers.

  9. 9. Establish marketplace seller IDs.

  10. 10. Clearly identifiable country of origin disclosures.

Platforms are called on to conclude stringent terms of service agreements with vendors that provide a legal means to move against sellers of counterfeit goods. Once an infringement is detected, the agreements should allow platforms to impose sanctions such as suspension, termination, and debarment without waiting for a determination by a court. The terms should include escalating capabilities to suspend, terminate, and debar counterfeit traffickers and their affiliates. For major infractions and/or repeat minor infractions, the terms would permit permanent removal of the seller, and any known related seller profiles, from the platform and further result in the forfeiture and destruction of all offending goods in warehouses or fulfilment centres operated by, or under the control of, the platform. The terms should also allow platforms to impose appropriate limitations on products listed, require clearly identifiable country of origin disclosures, impose US banking and indemnity requirements, and significantly improve pre-sale identification of third-party sellers.

Platforms are called on to develop enhanced vetting, which would encourage platforms to require a seller to provide:

  • sufficient identification, including information on its accounts and listings, and its business locations, prior to being allowed to list products on the platform;

  • certification as to whether it, or related persons, have been banned or removed from any major e-commerce platforms, or otherwise implicated in selling counterfeit or pirated products online; and

  • acknowledgment, where applicable, that it is offering trademarked products for which the seller does not own the rights.

Platforms would then be responsible for vetting sellers, supported by i) use of technological tools and historical and public data, and ii) establishment of an audit program for sellers, concentrating on repeat offenders and those sellers exhibiting higher risk characteristics.

Failure to provide accurate and responsive information should result in a determination to decline the seller account and/or to hold the seller in violation of the platform’s terms of service.

Platforms are called upon to have protocols and procedures to place limitations on the sale of products that have a higher risk of being counterfeited or pirated and/or pose a higher risk to the public health and safety. In this regard, platforms should prominently publish a list of items that may not be sold on its platforms under any circumstances (prohibited), as well as a list of items that could only be sold when accompanied by independent third-party certification (restricted). In constructing these lists, platforms should consider, among other things, whether a counterfeit version of the underlying product presented increased risks to the health and safety of US residents or the national security of the United States. When a seller claims their merchandise has an independent third-party certification, and this certification is required for the product to be legally offered for sale in the United States, platforms should make good-faith efforts to verify the authenticity of these certifications.

Platforms ae called upon to create and maintain clear, precise, and objective criteria that allow for quick and efficient notice and takedowns of infringing seller profiles and product listings. An effective regime should include, at a minimum, the following: i) minimal registration requirements for an interested party to participate in the notice and takedown process; ii) reasonable rules that treat profile owners offering large quantities of goods on C2C platforms as businesses; and iii) transparency to the rights holders as to how complaints will be resolved, along with relevant information on other sales activity by the seller that has been implicated.

Upon discovery that counterfeit or pirated goods have been sold, platforms are called upon to conduct a series of “post-discovery” actions to remediate the fraud. These should include:

  • notification to any buyer(s) likely to have purchased the goods in question with the offer of a full refund;

  • notification to implicated rights holders, with details of the infringing goods, and information as to any remaining stock of the counterfeit and pirated goods held in warehouses;

  • implementation of practices that result in the removal of counterfeit and pirated goods within the platform’s effective control and in a manner that prevents such goods from re-entering the United States, or being diverted to other markets;

  • immediate engagement with law enforcement to provide intelligence and to determine further courses of action.

E-commerce platforms are called upon to require foreign sellers to provide some form of security in cases where a foreign product is sold to a US consumer. Such form of security should be specifically designed to cover the potential types and scope of harm to consumers and rights holders from counterfeit or pirated products.

Platforms are called upon to encourage all sellers to clear transactions only with banks and payment providers that comply with US law enforcement requests for information and laws related to (relevant to) the financing of counterfeit activity.

Platforms are called upon to significantly improve their pre-sale identification of third-party sellers so that buyers can make informed decisions, potentially factoring in the likelihood of being sold a counterfeit or IPR infringing merchandise. Platforms should implement additional measures to inform consumers, prior to the completion of a transaction, of the identity of storefront owners and/or those responsible for fulfilling a transaction, as well as any allegations of counterfeits being sold by a particular seller. Conversely, if a particular seller is a licensed reseller of the product, this information should also be provided.

Platforms are called upon to require sellers to provide the names of their underlying business or businesses (if applicable), as well as any other related seller profiles owned or controlled by that seller or that clear transactions through the same merchant account. Platforms could use this seller ID information i) to communicate to the consumer a more holistic view of “who” is selling the goods, allowing consumers to inspect, and consult reviews of, all related seller profiles to determine trustworthiness, ii) to link all related sellers together, which will assist rights holders in monitoring who is selling goods that they believe to be infringing, iii) to better conduct their own internal risk assessment, and make risk mitigation decisions (e.g., requiring cash deposits or insurance), as appropriate, based on the volume and sophistication of the seller.

To assist both the platforms and consumers in evaluating the risks that a product might be counterfeit, platforms should require sellers to disclose the country of origin of their products; and platforms should post this country-of-origin information for all the products they sell.

In December 2020, the IPR Center asked ACTION members to provide written feedback concerning how their existing best practices aligned with any or all best practices outlined in the DHS Report as well as any impediments that complicated implementation. In their responses to the IPR Center and during the expert workshops conducted by the OECD in early 2021, industry partners identified several issues and challenges with respect to the practicalities and effectiveness of some of the voluntary private-sector best practices by parties.

  • Seller vetting. On some platforms, a significant amount of transactions are C2C and are small volume, which can complicate the thorough vetting of sellers. Not all platforms have the capacity to apply the best practices of human review, technological tools and analyses of historical and public data to assess seller risk.

  • High-risk products. While the DHS best practices suggested that platforms have in place protocols to limit the sale of “high risk” products. However, there is currently no uniform definition of “high-risk” in this context within the U.S. Government or private sector. Some designate items as “high risk” based on potential health and safety risks (such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals or automotive parts). Others may look at the frequency of sale to determine “high risk” (such as an item with a non-health and safety risks but high-volume sales). A standard definition for high risk would be beneficial to support future investigative/operational issues they participate in.

  • Notice and takedown. The extent to which current mechanisms in place on platforms work to enable platforms to address quickly the appearance of counterfeit goods on their sites is open to debate.

  • Post discovery actions. The extent to which the exchange of information between platforms and law enforcement has been taking place in a highly effective manner, enabling law enforcement to identify targets to pursue that go beyond selling on e-commerce sites. Broader information-sharing involving more participants would help combat counterfeiters and disable criminal networks.

  • Indemnity requirements for foreign sellers. Platforms agree on the importance and value of this requirement. Some have already implemented measures in this regard, while others are exploring ways to do so.

  • Clearing transactions through banks that comply with US enforcement requests. This is not an issue with those platforms which are already relying on US banks to clear transactions. Other platforms are examining how this could be done.

  • Pre-sale identification of third-party sellers. Major platforms require sellers to provide their profile details externally, but platforms where C2C transactions predominate have experienced added challenges.

  • Marketplace seller IDs. Some platforms have already simplified matters by allowing sellers only one profile on their sites. This has made it easier for law enforcement to move against bad actors who are operating on multiple platforms.

  • Country of origin disclosures. Some countries, including the US, require that the country of origin be marked on the product or label. Some platforms see this as a challenging requirement, since they have to rely on vendor declarations.

Overall, the need for all stakeholders involved in e-commerce to co-operate with one another in combatting online sales of counterfeits is great and efforts to ensure this are ongoing. The progress being made on all fronts will be examined in an upcoming report that is expected to be published in the third quarter of 2021.

Legislation is currently being considered in the United States to address several e-commerce issues. The Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act (INFORM Consumers Act) would require online marketplaces to collect, verify, and disclose certain information from high-volume, third-party sellers.11 The Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-commerce Act of 2021 (SHOP Act) would, under certain circumstances, hold an electronic commerce platform liable for trademark infringement by a third-party seller of goods where there are health and safety issues.12

The major online platforms have developed mechanisms designed to protect customers, brands and their stores from counterfeiters.13 The mechanisms have focused on several action areas, including:

  • Sellers. Subjecting sellers to checks prior to their being allowed to trade on the platforms. Sellers are also subject to terms of service agreements that prohibit the sale of counterfeit products and provide the operators with an easy, fast legal basis to act.

  • Consumers. Providing consumers tools which enable them to determine more easily the identity and particulars of the parties that they are purchasing from.

  • Brand rights holders. Ensuring rights holders are provided with effective tools to enable them to screen product listings for counterfeits and ensure that these listings are taken down rapidly.

  • Co-operation among the private-sector and with law enforcement. Platforms and law enforcement are working together to support legal actions against counterfeiters and share intelligence on developments and trends, in a proactive manner. Some are also proactively sharing information on individuals removed from their platform for allegedly selling counterfeit goods as well as intelligence on developments and trends. Platforms are moving forward with the creation of a private-sector data sharing platform to identify common targets and actionable intelligence about counterfeiters and their criminal networks.

  • Development of internal know-how. Platforms are developing internal expertise to combat counterfeiting and development and deployment of advanced tools that can be used to move against counterfeits in a proactive manner. This includes use of heuristics, algorithms and machine learning.

  • Transparency. Platforms are expanding their reporting on the results on anti-counterfeiting measures through, for example, annual reports on their activities in this respect.

For most platforms efforts with sellers are rooted in comprehensive terms of service agreements that selling partners are obliged to agree to. The agreements, which are non-negotiable, prohibit the sale of counterfeit products and they put sellers on notice of the consequences of doing so, providing the platforms with a clear legal basis to act quickly. Under the agreements, sellers may be required to provide full indemnification for the harm caused by counterfeit goods. Moreover, sellers that reach a specific sales level may be required to carry insurance to cover any damage caused by their products to a US consumer, regardless of where their products are manufactured.

Another example of an effective practice concerns proactive controls on sellers and products. A combination of advanced algorithms, heuristics, machine learning capabilities and investigators are deployed to protect the platform proactively from bad actors and bad products. During registration, for example, sellers may be required to provide a government-issued photo ID and information about their identity, their location, taxpayer information, and a bank account or credit card. Once received, the information can be analysed against hundreds of unique data points to verify the information and to identify potential risk.

A good example of such policy is the know-your-customer (KYC) approach rolled out by eBay, to authenticate sellers on their platform, with a view towards combating all types of fraud. Under the program, prospective sellers need to submit information and “proof of life” evidence that validates their identities, to operate on the platform. The initiative is already yielding positive results. In Brazil, for example, where there was a significant problem with the selling of counterfeit books, use of the KYC mechanism enabled the company to reduce claims from members of the program by 99%.

Walmart applies the verification procedures prior to the sellers’ being to operate on the platform. The verification process includes determination of the nature of a seller (i.e. a business or individual), confirmation of its identity, and examination of the seller’s online reputation. In addition, vetting is carried out for both high risk products (such as luxury brands, health and wellness items and electronics products) and high-risk geographic regions. The company has expanded its business into fulfilment services, but, based on the experience of others, does not comingle its products with those being shipped on the behalf of other sellers; this is to further insulate its distribution channels from counterfeits.14

As bad actors are constantly adapting their operations to evade detection, some platforms innovate to better anticipate the actions of the bad actors. For example, Amazon has established a system of live video verification of identities and documentation. It has proved to be successful, and helped ensure that the people contacted matches the phone numbers they have provided and their photo ID.

Another way that the platforms are seeking to address counterfeiting challenges is through awareness raising. For example, more than 75% of the sellers that were reported by brand owners for selling counterfeit items, or were proactively detected by Mercado Libre, were provided with opportunities to learn about the need to avoid trade in counterfeit products. The purpose of the training is to reach those companies which are unaware of what IP rights are all about. Webinars are run and help is provided on how to avoid posting an infringing item. In addition, brand owners are invited to upload materials that sellers might find useful in identifying counterfeit products.

Some actions taken by the platforms are designed for consumers. This includes providing them with additional information about the seller and the product. For example, Amazon offers sellers tools to share more information about themselves and their products. This includes features like profile pages for sellers, store pages for brand owners and an in-house buyer-selling messaging service that allows customers to learn more about sellers and products. Moreover, customers are clearly informed whether they are buying directly from Amazon, or from a third party. In the case of the latter, seller contact information is provided on the product listing; sellers are therefore required to have a single seller ID, which enhances traceability of sales.

Many online platforms provide brand owners with tools to protect against counterfeits. This is, in many cases supported by notice and takedown mechanisms that allow rights owners to efficiently search the platform for infringement and to ensure rapid removal. Information on the reported infringement is used to proactively scan the platform for additional counterfeits.

Another tool are registries of brands, maintained by platforms. For example, Amazon’s registry uses heuristics and algorithms and machine learning to predict, prevent and suppress infringement proactively. It captures accurate and actionable information about a brand IP, about their products and about them. Amazon stores prevent infringements using things like keywords and images and product identifiers. Under a program called Project Zero, brands are given an ability to directly remove suspected counterfeit products from the platform, in real time. The information that is generated is again fed into machine learning models and heuristics to help prevent future violations.

Another example is Verified Rights Owner partnership program (VeRO) created by eBay. The program, in which 97,000 rights owners currently participate, provides a mechanism for the rights owners to report on listings that infringe on their copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights to eBay, which then takes action to remove the listing. Moreover, the company has dedicated brand protection managers who partner with brand owners to gather intelligence that is then used proactively to detect counterfeit products. Of the 20 million sellers only around 2% have had items removed pursuant to a VeRO notification.

A brand protection program is also maintained by Mercado Libre, under which brand owners can register their full portfolio of IP rights (including trademarks, copyrights, patents and industrial designs). A dedicated web platform is available where the rights owners can provide information on infringements in all the countries in which it operates.

Post-discovery actions include engagement and co-operation with enforcement authorities. It also includes proactive initiatives, where information on bad actors is shared with other e-commerce platforms and other parties. For example, in 2020 Amazon set up an in-house Counterfeit Crimes Unit which is responsible for i) building and referring criminal cases to law enforcement, ii) undertaking independent investigations or joint investigations with brand owners and iii) pursuing civil litigation. This unit, which includes former federal prosecutors, focuses on organized criminal networks and complex financial crimes. The company’s efforts have resulted in scores of civil complaints, and several hundred criminal referrals, in the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and China.

eBay has also set up a global asset protection team that works closely with law enforcement in support of investigations and the prosecution of cases, and they also assist with training. A new regulatory portal allows participating global regulatory authorities to flag and takedown a listing directly; this is beyond the existing consumer reporting functions on the platform that all stakeholders can already use. The portal is evolving so that authorities will also be able to contact buyers directly in the event, for example, an unsafe product is detected.

Walmart is actively participating in data sharing programs with other marketplaces, with a view towards preventing counterfeiters from moving from one platform to another to maintain their illicit operations.

Institutional memory and in-house developed expertise, based on experience from countering counterfeiting are the key foundations for anti-counterfeiting strategies. Several online platforms structure their efforts by creating dedicated teams of highly trained staff to find and detect counterfeits. For example, Amazon invested over USD 700 million and dedicated more than 10,000 employees to stopping fraud, counterfeit, and abuse the teams in 2020. These investments support AI scientists and analysts, an array of detection tools, as well as machine learning and computer vision image detection technologies. Their work is further supported by experts who proactively monitor the platform for items in their field of expertise and report suspicious items to the company; based on their input, items can be delisted automatically, or investigations can be initiated on a priority basis.

At eBay a post-sale authentication program is designed to approach anti-counterfeiting actions in a structured way. The program focuses on specific products, the first of which was watches valued at over USD 2,000. These watches are sent by the seller to a third-party authenticator who is an expert in the field. After authentication the watch is sent to the buyer. If the watch is eventually returned, the returned item is similarly screened by the authenticator prior to being sent back to the seller.

Walmart has procedures that parties can use to report on products that infringe trademarks, copyrights or patents. Moreover, a brands portal was recently launched within which brand partners can report separately on infringements. Once a claim is made on the platform, the company has a policy to immediately block that product, and the company reserves the right to terminate counterfeit seller once the counterfeit offering is confirmed.

Mercado Libre is working in nine discrete areas to combat counterfeiting, including fraud prevention. The investigation department in the fraud prevention team is working closely with law enforcement and other key stakeholders in the public sector to address issues, providing information and other support covering counterfeiting and other types of fraud.

In addition, Mercado Libre is focusing on making the proactive techniques more robust. To this end, the company has recently introduced image brand detector technology, which seeks to undermine the efforts of counterfeiters to avoid key-word detection by analysing the images that sellers put on listings. In some cases, sellers are avoiding the use of any terms that might suggest infringement. The technology will be adapted over time to include an expanding number of brands.

Platforms are becoming more open about their efforts to combat counterfeiting. In 2021, for example, eBay released its first ever transparency report, which describes the actions that the company has taken to ensure a safe and trusted user experience on its marketplace, as well as the state of play with respect to listing takedowns (eBay, 2021[11]). Mercado Libre also published its first transparency report in 2021, which provides information on what it is doing to combat counterfeiting, and how the situation is evolving (Mercado Libre, 2021). The report, which covers the period July-December 2020, is set to be updated on a quarterly basis. In addition to IP infringement, the report covers information on other prohibited articles and data privacy. Finally, Amazon detailed its efforts to combat counterfeiting in its first Brand Protection Report, which was published May 2021 (Amazon, 2021[12]). The report reviews how the company has been implementing its three-prong approach, which focuses on i) robust proactive controls, ii) providing powerful tools for brands, and iii) holding counterfeiters accountable.


[12] Amazon (2021), Brand Protection Report, https://assets.aboutamazon.com/96/a0/90f229d54c8cba5072b2c4e021f7/amz-brand-report.pdf.

[10] DHS (2020), Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, US Department of Homeland Security, Washington, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/20_0124_plcy_counterfeit-pirated-goods-report_01.pdf.

[11] eBay (2021), 2020 Global Transparency Report, http://www.ebaymainstreet.com/sites/default/files/2021-05/2020-eBay-Global-Transparency-Report.pdf.

[6] EC (2020), Report on the functioning of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of Counterfeit Goods on the internet, SWD(2020) 166 final/2, European Commission, Brussels, https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/42701.

[8] EC (2017), Overview of the functioning of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet, SWD(2017) 430 final, https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/26602.

[5] EC (2016), Memorandum of Understanding: 21 June 2016, Ref. Ares(2016)3934515 26/07/2016, European Commission, Brussels, https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/43321/attachments/2/translations/en/renditions/native.

[7] EC (2013), Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Functioning of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods via the Internet, COM(2013), 209 final, European Commission, Brussels, Ref. Ares(2016).

[1] GCIG (2016), One Internet, Centre for International Governance Innovation and Chatham House, http://www.cigionline.org/documents/1045/gcig_final_report_-_with_cover.pdf.

[9] IP Crime Group (2020), IP Crime and Enforcement Report, IP Crime Group Secretariat, Concept House, Newport, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913644/ip-crime-report-2019-20.pdf.

[4] OECD (2021), Discussions with stakeholders, unpublished.

[3] OECD (2016), Ministerial Declaration on the Digital Economy, OECD, http://www.oecd.org/digital/Digital-Economy-Ministerial-Declaration-2016.pdf.

[2] OECD (2011), OECD Council Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making, OECD, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/sti/ieconomy/49258588.pdf.


← 1. See WCO e-commerce package, http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/facilitation/instrument-and-tools/frameworks-of-standards/ecommerce.aspx

← 2. See https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/about-us.

← 3. See https://docs.aws.amazon.com/qldb/latest/developerguide/what-is.html.

← 4. See https://www.nrl.com/.

← 5. See https://smarttrademark.search.ipaustralia.gov.au/.

← 6. See https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/policy/intellectual-property/enforcement/memorandum-understanding-sale-counterfeit-goods-internet_en.

← 7. A list of contact points was drawn up early in the MoU to facilitate communication between the signatories on policy matters related to the MoU as well as to enable direct operational contacts between the brand protection staff of rights owners in different Member States and the sites operated by the Internet platforms (EC, 2013[7]).

← 8. See https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32019R1150.

← 9. See https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-markets-act-ensuring-fair-and-open-digital-markets_en#new-rules-in-a-nutshell.

← 10. See https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-services-act-ensuring-safe-and-accountable-online-environment_en#documents.

← 11. See www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/936.

← 12. See https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3429.

← 13. Examples in this chapter have been elaborated based on a set of workshops with public and private stakeholders, and on structured interviews with representative of four on-line platforms: Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Mercado Libre.

← 14. Fulfilment is a service provided by a platform; it stores and ships products on behalf of its sellers.

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