Alibaba’s Takes on IP Infringement Battle
Alibaba’s relentless commitment to take on IP infringement was acknowledged by the World Trademark Review as it awarded the e-commerce giant with the Asia-Pacific Team of the Year Award.
The company’s two-pronged IP protection advocacy is to safeguard its brand and protect brand rights on its platform. Its brand-protection efforts started as a target for criticism and has risen to a benchmark in the field.
In 2017, Alibaba launched the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance with only 30 founding members. Today it has grown to 132 brand owners in 12 industry categories that include popular brands like Louis Vuitton, Honda, Samsung, and Mars. Members outside of China comprise 70% of membership. In 2019, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Fossil, Siemens, Dyson, Kohler, and Coach are just some of the brands that joined the Alibaba alliance.
In 2018, Alibaba together with alliance member brands led criminal investigations that resulted in the arrest of 1,277 suspects and the closing up of 524 manufacturing and distribution sites. Seizures of counterfeit products amounted to $536.2 million (RMB 3.6 billion). As a result of pervasive mutual efforts within the group, Alibaba was also able to process 97% of all takedown requests from AACA members within 24 hours.
What makes Alibaba and the Alibaba Anti-counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) leaders and innovators in the IP protection field stand out are the important measures they have implemented in terms of proactive monitoring, product authentication, offline enforcement, civil litigation, employee training, law enforcement exchanges, policy study, prevention of counter-notice abuses, and the Lazada IP Protection program.
More importantly, the company uses technology among other ways to proactively protect brands in taking down infringing items and simplifying intellectual property protection on its platform. This is especially significant because the IP team in Alibaba Group’s legal department manages around 50,000 trademarks and 15,000 domain names worldwide.
Matthew Bassiur, Alibaba Group’s vice president and head of global IP enforcement, proudly states:
“The best measure of our success is the many rights holders and other external stakeholders who are regularly referring to Alibaba as an industry leader in IP rights protection. (The) more than 190,000 brands doing business on Alibaba’s platform…(is)… a testament to the trust and valued relationships we have built with rights holders on many fronts. The significant expansion of the Alibaba Anti-counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) – with more than 130 brands – and the Luxury Pavilion, where the world’s leading luxury houses are building their brands and engaging China’s consumers, is further proof we’re making the grade and firing on all cylinders. In fact, according to Forbes, 77% of the world’s most valuable consumer brands do business with us.”
Take away points:
- Alibaba has become a staunch protector of its own IP rights and also of other intellectual property rights holders on its platforms.
- Alibaba launched ACAA to work with brands to protect IP across its platforms.
- Alibaba’s IP protection mechanism uses technology and collaboration with authorities to implement its policies and proactively protect intellectual property rights.
Svethlana Milanes, ABComm
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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.