Alibaba Aims to Work with Brands to Battle Counterfeiting

26 Dec

Alibaba said Friday it would establish an advisory board of brands and trade associations in order to safeguard intellectual property. According to a company spokesman, Alibaba will work with representatives from international brands and smaller enterprises in the U.S. and elsewhere to fight counterfeiting. Board members will serve rotating terms and meet for the first time in March.

Alibaba’s move comes after a recent decision by the U.S. Trade Representative to put the Hangzhou-based interent giant back on a register of physical and online markets known for selling fake goods.

Bharat Dube, chief executive of Strategic IP Information, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that close to 80% of the products with some form of branding sold on Taobao are fake. “Alibaba has been paying lip service to removing counterfeits rather than taking effective steps,” he said.

Alibaba “must be serious about working with brands to crack down on counterfeits by meeting face to face, having productive discussions and laying out concrete measures to take,” said Armando Branchini, vice president of Fondazione Altagamma, a trade association representing Italian luxury brands, in an interview with the The Wall Street Journal.

Branchini told the Journal that for every one Italian luxury bag, there are at least 10,000 similar counterfeits sold in China. He added that Taobao “is also a global platform, enabling customers to purchase fake items outside China as well, causing further damage to brands.”