Alibaba, Sohu Sites Removed From U.S. ‘Notorious Markets’

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Sohu.com Inc. (SOHU) had their websites removed from a U.S. government piracy list after the Chinese companies reduced inclusions of infringing products.

Alibaba’s Taobao site was taken off the “Notorious Markets” list after significantly decreasing the sale of infringing products, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a report yesterday. Sohu’s Sogou site reportedly made “notable efforts” to limit infringing content, it said.

The companies join Baidu Inc. (BIDU), which was removed last year from the list highlighting more than 30 physical and online markets that deal in infringing goods and services. Other Chinese websites should take similar actions to ensure the omission of listings for sales of pirated or counterfeit goods, the U.S. report said.

“I applaud the actions that some markets have taken to begin ridding their virtual and physical marketplaces of pirated and counterfeit goods,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement. “It is through both voluntary and government actions” that the landscape for protection of intellectual property will improve, he said.

Alibaba’s Taobao has committed to continue working to further reduce listings of counterfeit products, the trade office said.

“The intellectual property rights issue in China is a long march,” John Spelich, a spokesman at Alibaba, said in an e-mail today. “This is a milestone and it is only the beginning.”

Jiang Xin, a spokeswoman for Sohu, said she couldn’t immediately comment on the report.

The Philippines’ Quiapo shopping district was also removed from the list after the government took “significant enforcement actions” that reduced the number of counterfeit and pirated goods for sale in the market, the report said.

Inclusion on the list doesn’t reflect a violation of the law, according to the report.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.net; Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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