Shanghai
25 July 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Alibaba secures defamation verdict against counterfeiter


A pet-food vendor who sold counterfeit cat food via the Taobao marketplace has been found guilty of defamation in China, according to Alibaba Group.

The Shanghai court published its verdict on the civil lawsuit after a five-month legal battle. The defendant, whose surname is Yao, was ordered to pay RMB 120,000 (USD 17,800) in damages to Alibaba.

Yao’s arrest came as the result of a joint investigation between Alibaba and Mars, which owns the Royal Canin cat food brand.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in March, Alibaba said Yao had broken several of Taobao’s regulations prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise, which caused reputational damage to the platform.

Alibaba sought RMB 2.76 million (USD 409,000) in damages to compensate for its direct and indirect economic losses, loss of goodwill and legal fees.

“Winning the first lawsuit [against Yao] has made Alibaba more confident in our crackdown on counterfeit merchants,” said the group’s chief platform governance officer Jessie Junfang Zheng. “We plan to put all the proceeds we receive [from lawsuits] to a special fund dedicated to protecting and compensating our consumers.”

The suit was the second anti-counterfeiting civil action lodged by Alibaba this year, following a case against two fake Swarovski watch sellers on Taobao.

Alibaba sued the two vendors for selling alleged knock-offs of Swarovski watches, seeking RMB 1.4 million (USD 207,000) in damages for contract and goodwill violations.

In March, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma called for China’s counterfeit laws and penalties to be strengthened, after revealing that among the 4,495 suspected counterfeit sellers (with annual sales for each topping RMB 50,000 (USD 7,400)) detected in 2016, only 30 were indicted by Chinese law enforcement authorities.

More trademarks news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
China world’s top trademark filer in 2016
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
China was the world’s top trademark filer in 2016, with the country accounting for 3.7 million applications out of an estimated global total of 7 million
Brexit could cause major financial impact to UK trademark business
05 December 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
UK-based trademark lawyers could lose as much as £17 million a year as a direct result of Brexit
INTA reveals Brexit position
30 November 2017 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The International Trademark Association has revealed its position on Brexit, outlining five core principles that should be supported, promoted and safeguarded when the UK leaves the EU
Woof-Tang Clan in the dog house
23 November 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The leader of rap group the Wu-Tang Clan has filed a trademark opposition against dog walking company, the Woof-Tang Clan
Brexit a “material threat” to businesses, says Marques
20 November 2017 | Leicester | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Brexit could be a “material threat” to businesses that own trademarks in the EU, according to a position paper from intellectual property association Marques
Incopro opens Wales office
02 November 2017 | Caerphilly | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Incopro has expanded its presence to Caerphilly, Wales as part of a drive to fight against counterfeits in the UK
Turkey takes step towards harmonising with EU IP laws
01 November 2017 | Ankara | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office has released new guidelines for trademarks in an attempt to bring Turkish intellectual property law in line with the EU