Baidu, Taobao Identified as `Notorious Markets’ by U.S. for Helping Piracy

Popular Chinese search engine Baidu and Chinese online retailer Taobao have been criticized by the U.S. Trade Representative Office for facilitating piracy and counterfeiting of goods. From Bloomberg News:

Baidu Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Taobao, China’s biggest Internet search engine and retailer, were named “notorious markets” by the U.S. Trade Representative for helping sustain piracy and counterfeiting.

The two Chinese companies were among more than 30 Internet and physical markets worldwide identified by the USTR for helping the illegal sale of goods or materials protected by copyright or patents. Others on the list include the Pirate Bay file-sharing website in Sweden and the Silk Market in Beijing, according to the statement.

The U.S. agency called on regulators overseeing the markets included in its list to pursue possible legal action and step up efforts to combat the violations. The spread of global piracy and counterfeiting hurts entrepreneurs and industries worldwide, said Ron Kirk, the trade representative.

Greater protection of intellectual property was amongst the conditions for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. However, it has proved difficult. The US government has often criticized China’s lack of protection for intellectual property. Last December, prior to President Hu’s visit to America, top Chinese delegates, meeting with American counterparts at the annual United States-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, pledged to increase efforts at intellectual property protection. Time will tell if these efforts yield results. Read more about that meeting here.