Notorious Markets List: Snapdeal snaps at US trade body
A day after one of India's largest e-commerce platforms Snapdeal found itself named in the 2020 United States Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, the company has lashed out at the Office of the US Trade Representative stating that the report reflects a poor understanding of the governing law in various jurisdictions.
In a statement, a Snapdeal spokesman said: "The report released by USTR tarnishes the image of world’s leading marketplaces, including Amazon, Mercado Libre, Pinduoduo, Shopee, Snapdeal, Taobao, Tokopedia and many others basis incorrect understanding of the practices and the laws applicable to various markets."
"The report reflects a poor understanding of the governing law in various jurisdictions, including India. While Courts in India continue to uphold and assert the distinction between marketplaces and sellers, the USTR report willfully blurs this distinction to further a flawed point of view. In doing so, it ignores clear and well-established regulatory and legal frameworks under which marketplaces operate."
"The comments made with regard to Snapdeal are factually incorrect and repeat the falsehoods contained in the 2019 report, which Snapdeal had strongly rebutted. The lack of diligence is evident in including reference to related sites that have ceased to operate four years ago."
"The report omits to mention the various on-going, proactive & preventive anti-counterfeiting efforts of Snapdeal. These include Snapdeal's robust reporting and swift takedown process program -- Brand Shield, which has been in operation now for more than 2 years. This has led to close and effective collaboration with leading national & international brands, building on which Snapdeal has formed alliances with various brands to provide additional protection for brands with registered trademarks."
"The report also fails to acknowledge the continuing close co-operation between platforms, brands and law-enforcement agencies, all of which have led to significant and productive outcomes."
"The USTR report reflects a blinkered and flawed view of the world. The report not only fails to make a distinction between the respective roles of brands, sellers and platforms but also wilfully ignores the applicable laws in various jurisdictions, including in India."
The USTR report said Snapdeal remained a concern for right holders who report that the volume of counterfeit products on this platform has increased over the past year.
"According to a November 2018 survey, 37 per cent of purchasers reported that they had received a counterfeit product from Snapdeal. In July 2019, Snapdeal's founders were accused of criminal conduct in India for selling counterfeit products there. Right holders have also sued Snapdeal for selling counterfeit goods," the USTR report added.
However, Snapdeal said that the report was factually incorrect on many counts.
"There have been no criminal accusations against the founders for selling counterfeit products. Such negligent statements and unverified reporting by USTR is defamatory and unacceptable," the company said.
"The process of collating inputs by USTR continues to be outdated, opaque and based on unverified inputs. We firmly disagree with the “findings” of the report, specifically in its observations relating to Snapdeal," it added.
The four Indian markets that found mention in the Notorious Markets list are Heera Panna in Mumbai, Kidderpore in Kolkata and Palika Bazaar and Tank Road in Delhi.