Alibaba Group on Friday held its first Rights Holders Collaboration Summit and announced the launch of its IP Joint-Force System, an online platform designed to streamline intellectual property-related communications between brands and Alibaba, according to a press release sent to Retail Dive.
Under the new IP Joint-Force System, participating brands will be assigned a dedicated online portal and Alibaba account manager to exchange information about suspected counterfeit product listings, allowing brands to identify the authenticity of a product and more easily notify Alibaba of the infringing listing, the company said.
More than 100 domestic Chinese and international brands and trade associations attended the Alibaba event, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Apple, Mars, Hewlett Packard, the Chinese British Business Council and the Quality Brand Protection Committee.
The IP Joint-Force System program expands on Alibaba’s existing Good Faith Takedown effort, introduced in 2015 to expedite the notice-takedown process for brands that submit valid counterfeit complaints. More than 700 brands participate in the Good Faith Takedown program, according to Alibaba.
But brands as well as U.S. and Chinese regulators continue to receive complaints about counterfeits sold on Alibaba’s marketplaces, where fakes remain rampant, and the company is under intense pressure to improve its record. In May, the Washington, D.C.-based International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition suspended Alibaba's membership after an outcry from global brands and members over its inclusion.
Speaking last month at at Alibaba Group's first investor day conference, executive chairman and founder Jack Ma did himself no favors when he said that many knockoffs available on the company’s marketplaces are of better quality than the authentic products they mimic. Ma nevertheless pledged that the retailer would continue to crack down on sales of counterfeit goods across its platform, and later sought to clarify his remarks in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
Matthew Bassiur, Alibaba Group's head of global IP enforcement, said in a press release that the new effort will accelerate the company’s efforts to combat counterfeit sales.
“[The IP Joint-Force System] will redefine how IP enforcement is conducted in the digital age—where brands and e-commerce marketplaces must work collectively and strategically to combat counterfeiters,” Bassiur said. “This is one of several game-changing approaches that Alibaba will be advancing to both simplify and greatly enhance our overall enforcement process."
Alibaba said last month that it expects revenues to grow 48% year over year in 2017, thanks in part to its acquisitions of Chinese video site Youku Tudou and Singapore-based e-commerce business Lazada. Excluding those acquisitions, revenue growth will be more than 36% year over year, compared to 33% growth last year, the company said. Alibaba also expects to gross merchandise volume (GMV) to reach 6 trillion yuan ($912 billion) in fiscal 2020, nearly double the 3.09 trillion yuan reported in fiscal 2016, and that it will almost double its transaction volumes over that time.