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AAFA welcomes USTR report on Notorious Markets for IP
Mar '11
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed the publication of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday, February 28, 2011.

Focusing on the most serious markets known for piracy and counterfeiting, this report serves as a precursor to the release of the full Special 301 Report slated for the end of April. “Each year, footwear, apparel, and fashion accessories account for the most seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in terms of counterfeiting and piracy,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “I applaud U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for shining a light on some of the most notorious markets that require extra attention as we fight collaboratively to protect U.S. ideas, products, and brands abroad.”

“The U.S. apparel and footwear industry relies on our brand integrity as we compete in the global market,” Burke said. “As consumers continue to utilize e-commerce sites to purchase our quality products, we must recognize and fight the threat that modern technologies pose to brand reputations. This report does just that.”

As the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets notes, the growing prevalence of rogue Web sites poses a significant threat to the U.S. apparel and footwear industry, our global supply chain, and our customers. The Web sites often look legitimate in the form of high-tech Web sites that accept major credit cards. This practice enables counterfeiters to sell directly to consumers, who are likely unaware that the product is fake.

In addition to representing the theft of companies' brand names, these counterfeit goods may not comply with the appropriate safety standards, leaving the stark possibility that these counterfeit goods may pose real and significant harm to consumers and their families. “As this report notes, coordination at home and abroad is critical for the overall success of our mission,” said Burke.

“AAFA will continue to work with the Obama Administration and congressional leaders to achieve the most aggressive intellectual property protections.”

AAFA continues to educate the U.S. apparel and footwear industry on policy developments and best practices in the field of intellectual property. Intellectual property will be the focus of an upcoming AAFA event on March 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California. During the “Knock It Off! Brands and the Counterfeiting Quandary” workshop, attendees will receive important intellectual property updates from several U.S. Customs officials and industry experts.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

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