Some of the world's biggest fashion and sportswear brands yesterday (7June) signed a deal with landlords at Beijing's retail markets to stop the sale of counterfeit bags and clothing.

Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Adidas and Levi's were among the 23 brands who signed the memorandum with the landlords who have pledged to suspend or evict any tenants found selling pirated products.

Representatives from the luxury brands will monitor the markets and report copyright violations to landlords.

Evidence of a first copyright violation by a particular vendor will lead to a suspension, while a second offence would result in the vendor being ejected from the market.

The voluntary agreement is an attempt to head off further legal action by the brands against the landlords of Beijing's retail markets.

The landlords of major markets such as Silk Street and Hongqiao have agreed to work with the brand owners to draw up rental agreements that set out the potential consequences of counterfeiting. Regular surveys will test the 'Two Strike Rule.'

If successful, brand owners will pursue similar agreements with landlords of major markets in other big cities in China, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Speaking at the signing, EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said: "The protection of intellectual property goes to the heart of our economic relations. That is why this initiative is highly significant and should be an important step to maintain confidence in these markets."