The introduction of a bill that would help US authorities crack down on rogue websites selling fake and counterfeit goods has been welcomed by US apparel and footwear firms.

The 'Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011' (PROTECT IP Act) "sets us in the right direction to providing us with a full arsenal of tools that will be helpful in fighting these rogue websites," notes Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

He adds: "Footwear, apparel, and fashion accessories are some of the most counterfeited goods in the world. As US consumers continue to embrace e-commerce as a key shopping method, rogue websites have emerged as a popular way for counterfeiters to get fake goods into the United States."

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who introduced the bill, described it as "an important first step to putting a stop to online piracy and sale of counterfeit goods."

The PROTECT IP Act incorporates changes raised in response to similar legislation introduced in September 2010. 

The AAFA, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, and the Outdoor Industry Association have also sent a letter to the US House of Representatives outlining ways to boost the bill. 

Some of these considerations include adding provisions to allow a company to pursue a private right of action against the holder of a rogue website, to require "expeditious" action by Internet service providers, and to ensure that Internet search engines that contract with counterfeiters are held accountable.