Alibaba Group has entered a new anti-counterfeiting alliance with several international brands, including Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Mars. The alliance, which has about 20 members seeks to leverage big data and the latest in anti-counterfeiting technology in the global fight against fakes.
“The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite,” Alibaba’s chief platform officer, Jessie Zheng, said in a statement release earlier today. “With our robust data capabilities, we are confident the alliance will accelerate the digital transformation in our global fight against counterfeits.”
Alibaba has ramped up its enforcement actions across its ecommerce platforms. Last month, the company showcased some of those capabilities when it disclosed that its use of algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning, coupled with data, helped to shutter 417 production rackets, arrested 332 suspects and seized fake goods valued at RMB 1.43 billion ($207.2 million) in a joint operation with Chinese law enforcement between April and July last year. Codenamed “Operation Cloud Sword,” the hunt for counterfeiters on the internet resulted not only in the shutdown of their online stores but in a crackdown in their offline operations as well.
“This alliance will allow us to put to use some of the most powerful technologies available in the battle against counterfeit goods,” said Sam Shen, a Shanghai-based director at direct-selling company Amway. Amway is also a member of the alliance. “Already Alibaba has delivered significant results in tracking down IP violators, and we look forward to working with them and the rest of the members to continue that effort.”
The move follows the United States Trade Representative’s decision last month to put Alibaba’s Taobao back on a register of physical and online markets it says are notorious for selling fakes. According to the USTR, Taobao, which hadn’t made the list since 2011, was included in this year’s due to complaints from rights holders.
“We look forward to continuing to working with Alibaba and others to break the supply chain of counterfeit goods, and create an environment where counterfeiters can no longer hide,” said Scott Thompson, general counsel of Marketing Properties at Mars Inc.
The announcement on Monday was the latest in a series of initiatives from Alibaba in its efforts to protect the intellectual property of the brands selling on its platforms. In addition to Operation Cloud Sword, Alibaba took a new step forward earlier this month when it sued two merchants in Shenzhen for selling fake Swarovski watches on Taobao. Information provided by Alibaba prompted the seizure of 125 fake Swarovski watches and two counterfeit Swarovski official seals, with an estimated total value of RMB 200 million ($28.7 million).