Hangzhou
03 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Alibaba joins forces with Kering, ending all litigation


Alibaba Group and French luxury brand owner Kering have joined forces to protect intellectual property against online and offline infringers.

Through its affiliate, Ant Financial Services, Alibaba has established a joint task force with Kering to work closely with enforcement bodies to take action against infringers of Kering’s brands.

The collaboration will use Alibaba’s technology capabilities and proactive measures to prevent counterfeiting.

As part of the agreement, Kering has agreed to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Alibaba and Alipay.

Kering accused Alibaba of forming an enterprise through ecommerce platforms such as Taobao to dominate online retailing in China, selling fake versions of Kering products for as little as $2, when authentic versions could cost up to and over $1,000.

Kering filed several copyright infringement and trademark claims against Alibaba in May last year, which Alibaba said had “no basis”.

In August last year, Kering won a court order that barred certain vendors from using Alibaba’s online marketplaces to sell counterfeit products.

The new partnership suggests a shift in opinion towards Alibaba, with brands historically hostile towards the ecommerce company.

Kering is not the only brand owner to take issue with Alibaba. In May last year, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) suspended Alibaba’s newly minted membership after concerns were raised by brands about its participation in the coalition.

Brands including Tiffany, Gucci and Michael Kors reportedly revolted against Alibaba’s membership.

Since then, Alibaba has upped its enforcement actions on behalf of brands and entered into multiple partnerships.

Brands have become more accepting as a result, with Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Mars joining the ecommerce company’s Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance.

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