(This article was produced by Alibaba Group)
Alibaba Group is committed to the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the fight against counterfeiting. We have a zero-tolerance policy toward counterfeit goods sold on our platforms.
To protect consumers, brand owners and legitimate sellers, and to maintain the integrity of our marketplaces, we have a broad range of measures to prevent counterfeit and pirated goods from being offered and sold on our marketplaces. Alibaba has cooperative relationships with more than 1,000 major brand owners and several industry associations to enhance the effectiveness of our take-down procedures and other anti-counterfeiting measures.
We continue to refine and harness technological tools at our disposal to track and trace counterfeiters who sell on our platforms, in order to assist enforcement authorities in tackling the problem at its source.
• From January, 2013, through November, 2014, Alibaba Group invested over RMB 1 billion ($160.7 million) to fight piracy and enhance consumer protection.
• More than 6 million infringing listings were removed from Alibaba websites last year.
• Alibaba fined 131,000 merchants for infringing activities such as selling counterfeits last year.
• Alibaba in 2014 cooperated with authorities in the investigation of more than 1,000 counterfeiting cases resulting in the arrests of nearly 400 suspects, while 200 brick-and-mortar stores, factories and warehouses involved in the production and sale of counterfeits were closed.
• Currently a task force of over 2,000 Alibaba employees is spearheading the counterfeit effort and another 300 are currently being hired. Alibaba has also enlisted around 5,400 volunteers to assist with daily online surveillance and selective inspection.
• Since 2010, Taobao Marketplace has worked with the Zhejiang Intellectual Property Office in 3,000 IPR-infringing cases.
• Through the first nine months of 2014, Alibaba Group cooperated with 1,137 brand owners to identify and remove IP-infringing goods from our marketplaces.
• Alibaba Group uses data mining technology to analyze and track transactions of IPR-infringing products and identify hotspots for counterfeit distribution and sales. The company also conduct random checks on product authenticity by using third parties to purchase suspected fake goods being sold on our marketplaces.
• Alibaba Group has established cooperative relationships with over 1,000 major brand owners and several industry associations in connection with intellectual property rights protection to enhance the effectiveness of our take-down procedures and other anti-counterfeiting measures.
• We provide an online complaint platform for brand owners to report infringements.
• An Alibaba Group IPR report found that 90 percent of all counterfeit goods were distributed from 10 regions in China. The top three regions were cities in China’s Pearl River Delta region, Yangtze River Delta region, Southeast China. By using transaction data and mapping technology Alibaba Group found that more than 60 percent of counterfeit watches and jewelry originate from Southern China, while 60 percent of counterfeit outdoor sporting goods are from Southeast China region and 50 percent of counterfeit apparel originates from Eastern China.
• Alibaba Group has signed MOUs with major international associations to protect IP rights. These include the Korean Intellectual Property Protection Association, China-Britain Business Council and Business Software Alliance. This year, Alibaba Group in conjunction with China’s Public Security Bureau, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, China’s State Intellectual Property Office and State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television formed an “Intellectual Property Protection Working Group.” Alibaba Group’s Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Lu will be the Working Group’s chairman.
Penalties for Selling Fake Goods on Alibaba Platforms
When we receive complaints or allegations regarding infringement or counterfeit goods, we follow well-developed procedures to verify the nature of the complaint and the relevant facts before de-listing the items. Generally, we give sellers who have been accused of posting or selling counterfeit products up to three days to refute the allegations and provide evidence of the authenticity of the product.
If allegations of posting or selling counterfeit products have not been refuted or fictitious activities have been confirmed, we penalize the parties involved through a number of means including:
• Immediately delisting products.
• Arranging for the seller to reimburse the buyer.
• Assessing penalty points against the seller or limiting its ability to add listings for a certain period.
• Adopting a “name and shame” policy.
• Closing down storefronts and for Tmall.com sellers, confiscating the consumer protection security deposits paid. The seller is also banned permanently from establishing another storefront on our marketplaces.
2014 IPR Cases
Alibaba Group passed information and leads gathered online to the Shanghai police and the Shanghai Public Security Bureau of Economic Crime Investigation Corps that led to the investigation of 41 counterfeiting cases and the arrest of 103 suspects involved in counterfeiting brands such as Nike, Jordan, 3M, UGG, Prada, Chanel, etc. A highlight of the cooperation with Shanghai authorities was that it led to the smashing of four regional 3M face mask counterfeiting rings in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang and Suzhou. The crackdown on fake 3M goods saw the arrest of 12 suspects and the destruction of over 3,000 boxes of fake 3M face masks with a street value exceeding RMB 31.1 million ($5 million).
Alibaba Group worked with the Fujian Provincial Public Security Bureau to gather clues and crack down on over 200 online stores selling counterfeit shoes and luxury goods. Brands involved include Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. A total of 89 suspects were arrested and RMB 45 million ($7.2 million) worth of counterfeit goods were seized.