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White House Anti-Counterfeit Measure Could Strike at Amazon and eBay



WASHINGTON, April 4, 2019 — The White House’s latest move to protect American industries and consumers could potentially give President Trump an opening to hit back at some of his favorite targets.

National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro on Wednesday announced that the President had signed a Presidential Memorandum to combat “a very serious problem” — the trafficking of counterfeit goods through online marketplaces like Amazon, AliBaba, and eBay.

“President Trump has decided that it’s time to clean up this wild west of counterfeiting and trafficking,” said Navarro.

Navarro told reporters that the administration’s strategy for combatting counterfeit goods would follow what is now a well-established process of using a Presidential Memorandum to order a study to determine what executive actions can be taken to accomplish a particular goal, followed by an Executive Order to implement the actions recommended by the study.

Consumers, he said, have a 50 percent chance of receiving counterfeit goods through online marketplaces like Amazon, citing data collected during a Customs and Border Protection operation. But shortly after that he admitted that administration officials “certainly don’t know with any certainty how much counterfeiting is going on,” from where the counterfeit goods are coming, or how they are making it into the United States.

Still, Navarro said sites operated by companies like Amazon represent the “central core” of the problem and suggested that the administration is looking for ways to punish them if counterfeit goods are sold through their platform.

“Right now these third-party online marketplaces, together with the ecosystem that supports them…have essentially zero liability when it comes to these counterfeit goods,” he said. “That simply has to stop.”

Making a third-party marketplace operator like Amazon financially liable if counterfeit goods are sold on its platform could potentially deal a huge blow to the company and would undoubtedly impact the bottom line of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whom the president has attacked in retaliation for his ownership of The Washington Post.

Trump frequently suggests that Bezos’ purchase of the venerable newspaper — which he often derides as the “Amazon Washington Post” or as a “Lobbyist Newspaper” — was meant to allow him to intimidate politicians and prevent the retail giant from being subject to regulation.

Asked whether there was a chance that Trump’s enmity for Bezos played a role in his decision to go after online marketplaces, Navarro replied that there was “absolutely zero” chance that Trump’s memorandum is a way of targeting Amazon.

A senior White House official who was contacted by BroadbandBreakfast explained that this latest use of executive  authority came to be as a response to “the numerous calls for help from American manufacturers hammered by counterfeiters.”

While the President cannot unilaterally change laws to make third-party marketplace owners liable for the goods sold on their platforms, the official said the study ordered by the memorandum would guide the administration’s next steps, including possible legislation.

An Amazon spokesperson that BroadbandBreakfast reached by email declined to address the possibility that Trump could once again be targeting Amazon, but noted in a statement that the company “strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products” and welcomes support from law enforcement.

The spokesperson added that the company “invests heavily in proactive measures to prevent counterfeit goods from ever reaching our stores,” and spends approximately $400 million each year to fight “counterfeits, frauds, and other forms of abuse” with tools that “ensure that over 99% of the products that customers view on Amazon never receive a complaint about counterfeits.”

“Bad actors that attempt to abuse our store do not reflect the flourishing community of honest entrepreneurs that make up the vast majority of our seller community,” the spokesperson said. “We estimate these businesses have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide and they provide our customers with vast, authentic selection.”

(Pool photograph of Peter Navarro in Trump Tower by Albin Lohr-Jones.)

Broadband Events

November Broadband Breakfast Club Event: The International Telecommunications Union and the Global Open Internet



WASHINGTON, Thursday, November 15th, 2012 — The internet policy news and events service will hold its November 2012 Broadband Breakfast Club event “The International Telecommunications Union and the Global Open Internet” on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 from 8 am – 10 am. American and Continental breakfasts are included. The program begins shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tickets to the event are $45.00 plus a small online fee.

Registration is available at

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by Comcast, Google, ICF International (ICFI), The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and US Telecom.

The Broadband Breakfast Club series meets on the third Tuesday of each month (except for August and December).

The Broadband Breakfast Club schedule can be viewed at

Read our website for broadband news and event write-ups

Videos of our previous events are available at: 

Keynote Speaker:


Mindel De La Torre, Chief, International Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Since October 2009, Mindel De La Torre has been Chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  In that role, she leads the FCC’s efforts internationally – both on a bilateral and multilateral basis.  She oversees the International Bureau’s functions with regard to licensing of international and domestic satellites, international long distance, international broadcast stations, and submarine cables.  Ms. De La Torre was previously at the FCC between 1994-1998 as Deputy Chief of the Telecommunications Division of the International Bureau.  Before returning to the FCC, she was president of the Telecommunications Management Group, Inc. (TMG), a consulting firm in the Washington DC area. She has been a member of various U.S. delegations to ITU conferences, such as World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), World Telecommunication Development Conferences, and Plenipotentiary Conferences.  She has also participated actively in regional telecommunications organizations, such as CITEL and APEC. Ms. De La Torre also worked at the Department of Commerce – for over four years at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and for three years in the General Counsel’s office. Ms. De La Torre has a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the University of Texas.


Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs, National Telecommunicationsa and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce 

In her role as Associate Administrator for International Affairs, Ms. Alexander oversees and manages NTIA’s activities related to the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) as well as NTIA’s involvement in international ICT bilateral and multilateral discussions in venues such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications Working Group (APEC TEL), the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization  (ITSO), and, the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO).  She is also a key member of the Department’s Internet Policy Task Force providing strategic guidance with respect to online privacy, copyright protection, and cybersecurity, and co-leading the work on the global free flow of information. Ms. Alexander was NTIA’s lead negotiator for issues related to Internet Governance in the context of the UN World Summit on the Information Society as well as the Affirmation of Commitments with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  In addition, she was a key member of the U.S. team that worked on the OECD’s Internet Policy Making Principles. Prior joining NTIA, Ms. Alexander was a Senior Consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton.  She has a Masters Degree in International Relations from American University, Washington, D.C. 

Gary Fowlie, Head, International Telecommunications Union Liaison Office, United Nations

Gary Fowlie has been the head of the Liaison office of the International Telecommunication Union to the United Nations since 2009. ITU is the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology.  Mr. Fowlie is an Economist and Journalist. He was a Producer/Reporter for the news service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 10 years and a freelance reporter for The Economist. Prior to joining the International Telecommunication Union in 2001, Mr. Fowlie worked as an Account Director for the technology practice of the global consulting firm Hill and Knowlton. His clients included Microsoft, SAP and many others. Mr. Fowlie was responsible for communications for the UN World Summit on the Information Society (2003 and 2005) and from 2005 until 2009 was the Chief of Media Liaison for the United Nations in New York. Mr. Fowlie is a graduate of the Universities of Alberta, Alabama and the London School of Economics. 

Emma Llansó, Policy Counsel, Center for Democracy & Technology

As Policy Counsel at CDT, Emma works on free expression policy with both the domestic Free Expression team and the Project on Global Internet Freedom. Emma earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2009 and her B.A. in anthropology summa cum laude from the University of Delaware in 2006.  She has been admitted to the New York State Bar. Llanso joined Center for Democracy & Technology in 2009 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Bruce J. Ennis Foundation.  Her fellowship project focused on analyzing legislative, regulatory, and policy proposals aimed at addressing online child safety and privacy concerns for their potential impact on free expression online.  This project involved the full range of CDT’s domestic free expression policy work, which includes amicus activity in First Amendment cases, defending Internet intermediary liability protections in the U.S. and abroad, and advocating for user-empowerment tools and digital media literacy for minors.

Ross Schulman, Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Computer and Communications Industry Association 

Ross Schulman is Public Policy and Regulatory Counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association.  He was previously with the Center for Democracy and Technology as a program manager handling consumer privacy and information security issues.  While there he managed the Anti-Spyware Coalition in developing industry standard definitions and best practices for consumer and business computer security.  In the course of eight years living in Washington DC, he has also spent time working in both the Senate, for Senator Ron Wyden and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House of Representatives for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He received his Juris Doctorate degree magna cum laude from American University and his bachelors degree in computer science from Brandeis University.


Joshua Philipp is a staff reporter and technology editor for The Epoch Times where he specializes in features and investigative reporting. He is the also Chief Editor at, an independent news source for gaming and technology. 

Background on is in its fourth year of hosting monthly breakfast forums in Washington on internet policy issues. These events are on the record, open to the public and consider a wide range of viewpoints. Our Broadband Breakfast Club meets on the third tuesday of every month (except for August and December). Our elected official keynotes have included Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D- CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Diane Watson (D-CA), Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rick Boucher (D- VA).

Our agency and commission official keynotes have included Deputy Undersecretary for Agriculture Dallas Tonsager, Julius Genachowski, Chairman FCC; Jonathan Adelstein, RUS Administrator; Julie Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, Anna Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary NTIA; FCC Wireline Competition Bureau Chief, Sharon Gillette, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief, Rick Kaplan; Tony Wilhelm, BTOP Director, NTIA; Ari Schwartz, Senior Internet Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce; Nick Sinai, Senior Innovation Advisor to the US Chief Technology Officer.

Our panels are comprised of leaders from a wide variety of organizations including government, industry, law firms, academia, nonprofit, journalism and many others. Our audiences are equally diverse. The keynote speech is followed by a moderated panel discussion in which audience participation is encouraged.

For More Information Contact:

Sylvia Syracuse, Director of Marketing and Events,, 646-262-4630


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Expert Opinion

Expert Opinion: New Domain Names are Coming, and Present Opportunities and Risks

On June 20, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) formally approved the program it has developed for creation of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The new gTLD program will expand the domain name system beyond the current 22 generic top-level domain names such as .com, .net, and .org, to potentially include just about .anything and .everything to the “right of the dot” as top-level domains. The new gTLDs will likely include generic and geographic TLDs such as .bike and .paris, as well as .brand registries that correspond to trademarks and company names such as .deloitte.



On June 20, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) formally approved the program it has developed for creation of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).  The new gTLD program will expand the domain name system beyond the current 22 generic top-level domain names such as .com, .net, and .org, to potentially include just about .anything and .everything to the “right of the dot” as top-level domains.  The new gTLDs will likely include generic and geographic TLDs such as .bike and .paris, as well as .brand registries that correspond to trademarks and company names such as .deloitte.

ICANN’s new gTLD program has raised a number of consumer and brand protection concerns over the many years that the program has been under consideration, including from members of Congress at a recent hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet. (House Subcommittee Scrutinizes Possible Domain Name Expansion).  ICANN has revised the proposed gTLD program guidelines on a number of occasions, and statements during the June 20 meeting made clear that ICANN’s leaders believe the organization has now successfully balanced the desire to expand the domain name system with the need to provide consumer and brand name protection mechanisms.  While the propriety of the nature and terms for the new gTLD program will likely be subject to continuing debate for years to come, ICANN has now provided a firm timetable for the program, and organizations of all sizes should evaluate the potential implications of the program if they have not already begun to do so.

New gTLD Program Details

The policies governing the new program are detailed in ICANN’s 352-page gTLD Applicant Guidebook, which will govern the launch of the new gTLD program.  While certain portions of the Guidebook are subject to continuing negotiations (most notably between ICANN and the Governmental Advisory Committee or “GAC”), many components of the gTLD program appear to be firmly settled.  Not just anybody will be eligible for a new gTLD under the rules. Only established corporations, organizations or institutions will even be considered, and individuals, sole proprietorships or as-yet unfounded companies will be barred from applying.

Applications for the first round of new gTLDs will be accepted by ICANN from January 12, 2012 through April 12, 2012, and ICANN’s application fee will be $185,000.  ICANN will post the public portions of all gTLD applications within two weeks of April 12, 2010 and it will then undertake a review of each application to determine whether the proposed gTLD is appropriate for approval.  ICANN will initially assess each proposed gTLD for similarity to existing gTLDs and to determine whether the proposed gTLD will present new Internet security or stability concerns.  ICANN will also evaluate the applicant organization itself to ensure that it will be able to properly handle the technical, operational, and financial responsibilities required to maintain a domain name registry.  The applicant review will also include a review of the applicant organization and its officers, directors, and controlling shareholders for any past criminal or otherwise unacceptable behavior such as cybersquatting.

Results of ICANN’s initial evaluation of the proposed gTLDs will be made public by ICANN in November 2012.  Concurrently with ICANN’s initial evaluation, there will be a procedure for filing formal objections to issuance of a new gTLD based on the following four categories:  legal rights (including intellectual property rights), string confusion with another gTLD, limited public interest, or a community objection due to the nature of the proposed gTLD.  It is anticipated that new gTLDs that are approved by ICANN, and not opposed by interested parties, will likely begin to “go live” in the first quarter of 2013.  If ICANN adheres to the foregoing timeline, second-level domain names from the new gTLDs (such as,, etc.) will likely go on sale to the public in mid to late 2013.

Planning for New Domain Names

Many organizations have understandably adopted a “wait and see” approach to ICANN’s new gTLD program over the last few years given the ongoing evolution of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook and the concerns that have been previously raised by national governments and other stakeholders concerning the program.  However, it is now clear that the program is moving forward, and the Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors has stated that the new gTLD program “will usher in a new Internet age.”  To avoid missing the launch of the “new Internet age” and the associated practical and legal implications, organizations of all types and sizes should begin to evaluate the new gTLD program.  In particular, the following steps should be taken:

1.Consider whether to pursue a gTLD application.  Given the significant business implications for pursuing or abstaining from both generic and branded gTLDs, and the costs associated with pursuing a new gTLD, discussions should include high-level executives of the organization.

2.Prepare an advance strategy for monitoring and, if necessary, responding to third-party or competitor gTLD applications through public comments and/or formal objections.

3. Develop and/or revisit the organization’s strategy for Internet brand protection given the potentially astronomical number of second-level domain names that could be released when new gTLD’s begin full operations in 2013.  Existing Internet brand protection protocols may need to be revisited based on the rights protection mechanisms in the new gTLD program, and to realistically budget for such efforts.


David E. Weslow is a partner in the Intellectual Property practice at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC.  Mr. Weslow focuses his practice on litigation, prosecution and licensing of trademarks, copyrights and domain names.  A former software and web developer, he regularly handles cutting-edge issues involving law and technology.  Mr. Weslow can be reached at 202.719.7525 or

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This is a publication of Wiley Rein LLP providing general news about recent legal developments and should not be construed as providing legal advice or legal opinions. You should consult an attorney for any specific legal questions.


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Intellectual Property Breakfast Club Examines IP Enforcement

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2011 – The Intellectual Property Breakfast Club last week featured a keynote address by Erik Barnett, Assistant Deputy Director at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and subsequent panel with industry experts, taking a closer look at administration recommendations to expand the scope of IP laws and increase certain penalties for infringement.

Barnett’s keynote focused on “Operation In Our Sites,” an ICE initiative that focuses on stopping Internet counterfeiting and piracy. The initiative seizes U.S.-based sites that provide illegal content via the web. Critics allege that the seizures deprive domain registrants of due process.

Intellectual Property Enforcement: Where Does the Law Need to be Updated?



WASHINGTON, May 16, 2011 – The Intellectual Property Breakfast Club last week featured a keynote address by Erik Barnett, Assistant Deputy Director at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and subsequent panel with industry experts, taking a closer look at administration recommendations to expand the scope of IP laws and increase certain penalties for infringement.

Barnett’s keynote focused on “Operation In Our Sites,” an ICE initiative that focuses on stopping Internet counterfeiting and piracy.  The initiative seizes U.S.-based sites that provide illegal content via the web.  Critics allege that the seizures deprive domain registrants of due process.

Since June 30, 2010, according to Barnett, 120 sites have been seized by ICE, all of which were entirely commercial and profiting from trade in infringing goods.

Intellectual Property Enforcement: Where Does the Law Need to be Updated?

“These are sites… that are existing purely on ad revenue or subscription packages or sales or a combination of the three,” said Barnett. “Ultimately, they are purely violative.  We get a lot of questions about blogs, chat rooms, community forums – [we are] not interested; don’t have time.”

Barnett went on to note that Operation In Our Sites is intended to be one of several tools to prevent online infringement and that those from whom ICE seizes sites have several methods of recourse through the court system.

During the panel discussion, Jason Gull, a Senior Counsel, Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the United States Department of Justice, described some of the issues that occur with sites that stream content.

“There is not as a technical and factual matter, it is unclear whether we can show a violation of the distribution right or the reproduction right,” said Gull. “Part of this is a metaphysical argument about whether reproduction occurs in a buffer in a computer somewhere, but as a practical matter in court, it’s not clear that we can do that.”

Under copyright law, the content owner holds both the distribution and reproduction rights.  Individuals who reproduce or distribute copyrighted material without permission violate the rights of the content owner.

Chun Wright, an attorney who specializes in IP enforcement as well as Internet and technology law, described the difficulties associated with protecting IP.

“You’ll hear people in the enforcement world talk about it as a ‘whack-a-mole’ problem,” said Wright, “and it very much is, except the moles are on steroids and they’re mutating.”

M. Luisa Simpson, Executive Director of International Copyright Enforcement & Trade Policy at the Association of American Publishers, noted the changing face of infringement in the publishing world with the rise of new technology that is moving books and magazines increasingly online and onto portable devices.

“With the ubiquity of electronic reading devices that are now far smaller, lightweight, and easier to read, the scope of the piracy for our industry has grown,” said Simpson. “What we’re finding now is that there’re not just unauthorized digitized copies of printed books, but we’re finding the actual e-books, stripped of the encryption, can be downloaded onto these readers.”

David McClure, President and CEO of the US Internet Industry Association, cautioned against increasing penalties against enforcers rather than improving the means by which the current laws are enforced.

“I think is has to be recognized that the law enforcement agencies have to get a lot better than they are right now at the game,” said McClure.  “I don’t think any of the law enforcement agencies would disagree with this; they’re being badly outgunned.”

The panel further discussed issues of law enforcement’s effectiveness in prosecuting infringers, the rhetoric surrounding the debate on IP enforcement and, more generally, where to strike the balance between protecting content owners and protecting citizens from the overreach of government.

“When we’ve got valid legal process, we want to be able to obtain evidence,” said Gull, “and that’s critical not just in IP, but in all sorts of law enforcement issues.”

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