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Snapdeal says USTR report based on unverified inputs and defamatory in nature

Business Finance

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Snapdeal, one of India's largest e-commerce companies, on Thursday said the report of the US Trade Representatives that placed it in the Notorious Markets List for counterfeiting and piracy, is based on "unverified inputs" and is "defamatory" in nature.

In its annual edition of Notorious Markets List for counterfeiting and piracy, the USTR said on Wednesday that Snapdeal is known as a place to purchase counterfeit watches and shoes.

According to a November 2018 survey, 37 per cent of its customers reported that they had received a counterfeit product from Snapdeal, the USTR said.

Responding to the USTR's move, a Snapdeal spokesperson said: "The comments made in the report in respect of Snapdeal are factually incorrect in most aspects, are based on unverified inputs and are defamatory in nature.

"The comments made in the report in respect of Snapdeal are factually incorrect in most aspects, are based on unverified inputs and are defamatory in nature, the spokesperson said.

Snapdeal along with four Indian shopping complexes have figured in the US' 2020 edition of the Notorious Markets List.

Other than Snapdeal, the four markets are Tank Road in Delhi, Heera Panna in Mumbai, Kidderpore in Kolkata and Millennium Centre in Aizawl.

"In July 2019, Snapdeal's founders were arrested for selling counterfeit products, the USTR claimed.

Right holders have also sued Snapdeal for selling counterfeit goods," said the report.

In a statement, the spokesperson of the online marketplace said that the company firmly disagrees with the findings of the report and specifically in its observations relating to Snapdeal.

The report also ignores the extensive and on-going efforts by various marketplaces to collaborate with brands towards the protection of intellectual property on online marketplaces, said the spokesperson.

As India's third-largest marketplace, Snapdeal operates a robust anti-counterfeit programme - Brand Shield - that enables easy reporting and takedown of listings of counterfeits and delisting of defaulting sellers, it asserted, adding that it has well-defined measures to verify the identity of sellers based on government registrations.

Snapdeal works closely with global and leading Indian brands and with law enforcement authorities to provide information wherever required to support any effort to enforce the legal rights of the brand owners, the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, Snapdeal is also an active member of the International Trademark Association, a global alliance spanning 7200 members across 187 countries, including large brand owners, small and medium enterprises, government offices, non-profits, among others.

In all, the US Trade Representatives' (USTR) annual list has 38 online markets and 34 physical markets that are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

The report released by USTR seeks to cast aspersions on many of the world's leading online marketplaces, including Amazon, Pinduoduo, Shopee, Snapdeal, Taobao, Tokopedia and many more, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson claimed that the USTR report is based on a limited understanding of the business models of online marketplaces and ignores the roles and responsibilities of intermediaries under the law in various jurisdictions with respect to each of the models.

Further, the process of collating such inputs by the office of the USTR is neither objective nor inclusive, the spokesperson said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, April 30 2020. 20:14 IST